This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
As the saving of seed is of some importance, a few remarks on this head may be of service. Without stopping to discuss the physiological point respecting the reproduction of permanent varieties by seed, it is a well-known fact to those of experience, that Celery, although one of the most constant in this respect, is nevertheless disposed to sport; consequently, if any particular variety is wanted to be kept pure, those plants which are retained for this purpose ought to partake most truly of the peculiar characteristics of the kinds, and also should be removed from the influence of impregnation by other sorts. The first may be accomplished by choice of plants, and the latter by not having any oilier in bloom in the same vicinity. It is well, too, not to blanch, nor grow too luxuriantly, those which are intended for seed, as under these circumstances the structural texture is retained more solid, and the progeny will partake of the same property. Everybody knows that a spongy head of Celery is worthless, therefore we should use all caution to preserve the solidity; and the above items, if attended to, will ensure success.
Notwithstanding the natural hardiness of this plant, there are some winters so severe and changeable that it is advisable to preserve, even in this case, the plants from extreme cold, for which purpose a cold frame is the most suitable; but if this is not convenient, a light covering of marsh hay or straw may be thrown over them, to prevent the effects of alternate frost and thaw.
With regard to different kinds, there are several shades of color, gradations in size, and variety in flavor, each being prized according to the caprice of different cultivators. Two classes are generally recognized, viz., Red and White. The Red is generally considered to be the hardiest, and it has more pungency in the flavor, partaking somewhat of the natural quality; and upon the acknowledgement of these properties is hung the faith of many persons. The fact is, that when Celery first became an established favorite, we possessed no really good kinds but what were red, all the Whites being then spongy in substance, and sweet and insipid in flavor; and it is readily seen from this why the White was more tender in winter. Of late years the latter class has been much improved, and we have now several kinds that are equally hardy, as firm and brittle in substance, and in every respect as good in quality, as is the Red. For the sake of experiment, three years ago I grew Seymour's Bed (thought to be the most hardy of the Reds,) and Seymour'$ White (the kind that is so generally brought to market in this neighborhood,) in different ways, only that both were treated alike, and planted in the same row.
At the end of winter, although both were good, the White was in the best order; and, so far as I have seen, this is the best variety that we have for general cultivation. These two kinds were raised by Mr. Seymour, late gardener to the Countess of Bridgewater, in England; and he certainly deserves the thanks of all lovers of good vegetables, for his persevering efforts.
When winter is over, the seed plants should be removed carefully into a spot of very rich ground, and freely exposed to the sun, by which they will be invigorated and enabled to flower strongly; the seeds will be plump and well developed, and in their turn will produce strong and healthy plants. As all the seed does not ripen at the same time, it should be gathered at intervals, spread out upon paper in a dry but cool room, and when thoroughly dried it may be cleaned and stowed away in bags till wanted for use. Celery seed will keep good for several years, but the finest plants are raised from it while fresh.