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Expert farmer shares how to avoid an infuriating common gardening mistake: 'I wondered why mine looked so different'

"I didn't understand why it was so spindly."

TikToker Andre the Farmer Blanch celery

Photo Credit : @andrethefarmer/ Tiktok

You may think blanching is only something done to vegetables after being harvested, but there's a trick called blanching that will prevent the celery in your garden from becoming thin and bitter.

The scoop

Blanching is covering portions of a plant and blocking it from the sun, which prevents photosynthesis and chlorophyll production (which gives plants their green color). The same thing happens to lettuce naturally, which is why the outer leaves are always a darker green than the inner leaves.  

TikToker Andre the Farmer (@andrethefarmer) recently posted a video showing how to blanch celery — or "binding" celery, as he calls it.

@andrethefarmer Blanching for better celery #celery #growyourownfood #gardening #andrethefarmer #fyp #permaculturelife #gardeningtips #gardeninghacks ♬ original sound - Andre the farmer

"You take something like newspaper or cardboard," he explains in the video as he wraps a celery stalk in a piece of cardboard. "You're gonna wrap this around your celery nice and tight. And what that's gonna do is, that's gonna allow your celery to grow really thick stalks." 

An article from Gardener's Path gets into the dirty details of blanching, including two alternative ways to cover your stalks. You can use waxed half-gallon milk cartons with the tops and bottoms cut off to slide over the leaves and stalks. And then there's "mounding," which is basically burying the stalks with more dirt a few weeks before harvest.

Andre the Farmer suggests blanching your celery for about two months, but Gardener's Path and other sites suggest two to three weeks, so it's something you'll want to test out yourself to see what works for you. And make sure not to cover the leaves at the top, so a part of the plant still gets that beautiful sunlight. 

How it's helping

If the celery stalk is getting a lot of sun, increasing chlorophyll production, it's going to taste more bitter. Blanching blocks the sun, causing the celery to have a lighter color and, more importantly, a sweeter taste. 

Growing celery is a long and challenging task, so ending up with bitter, thin stalks is a bummer. Taking these fairly simple steps to blanch your celery will set you up for success. Plus, with the price of groceries on the rise, eating food from your garden also saves money. 

Growing your own fruits and veggies has many other benefits, too, including helping the environment. Locally grown produce reduces carbon pollution and cuts down on packaging waste. Plus, a lot of nutrients are lost during transportation, which doesn't happen if the source is right in your backyard.

What everyone is saying

People on TikTok loved Andre the Farmer's gardening hack

"That is incredible!" one person comments. "I've always been frustrated and given up growing celery! Thank you!!" 

"Interesting. I wondered why mine looked so different!" replies another user. 

"Thank you so much!!" another TikToker says. "My celery was prolific, but I didn't understand why it was so spindly." 

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