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Apium graveolens dulce
At the end of the 19th century, celery was considered a rare gourmet treat. Hostesses purchased beautiful crystal vaselike celery servers just to showcase this elegant vegetable. Today, we rely on celery as a crunchy, low-calorie treat and the basis for flavoring soups and stews. It's readily available at the supermarket, but you'll have fun growing it at home and will appreciate smaller celery heads, which are more tender and mild flavored.
Homegrown celery is delicious raw in salads and appetizers or cooked in sauces, soups, and stews. It requires a long growing season (at least four months) and grows best in moderate temperatures. Because it takes a long time to mature, start seeds indoors 10-12 weeks before your area's last frost date. Transplant seedlings to the garden after danger of frost has passed.
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