Not only do fennel's aniseed notes add a delicious, aromatic flavor to food, but the plant also has medicinal properties, in particular aiding digestion.Both are worth including in your list of kitchen garden ideas as they will enhance so many dishes, from fish and vegetables to curries, soups and sauces.‘Fennel serves a dual purpose in a kitchen garden as it adds scent and texture, and also looks lovely as an airy infill in a cut bouquet.’.‘Incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil.’ Create rows or drills around half an inch deep and 15in apart.Once the plants are established, fennel does not require a lot of attention – water only as needed, and particularly in hot weather, and fertilize occasionally.Fennel is one of those vegetable garden ideas that takes a little work and attention but is more than worth the effort.The issue with fennel bulbs is they they are prone to bolting, meaning the plant will flower and go to seed too quickly.To prevent fennel bulbs from bolting, choose a bolt-resistant variety, avoid sowing seed too early or transplanting the seedlings, and keep the soil moist.When it comes to selecting a type of fennel, you can choose from the herb or bulb variety – both share a sweet aniseed flavor.For bulb or Florence fennel, try Perfection, Zefa Fino, Sirio, Romanesco, and Dragon.The plants' feathery leaves make a striking feature, and you can keep them close to hand on the patio.'If you are interplanting with another crop – say, lettuces – make sure you leave enough space for the fennel to grow without being smothered.Every part of a fennel plant is edible, from the frothy fronds to the earthy roots, which are great roasted or cooked into dishes.When the plants are small, slugs and snails can be an issue, so protect them with barriers or biological controls.Aphids can also cause issues – keep them at bay by making a spray with water and a weak concentration of dish soap.To grow fennel bulbs takes around 3 months from sowing until the plant is ready to harvest, depending on the variety.Fennel is considered a bad companion plant as it can have a negative impact on other herbs and vegetables.'Though fennel is beautiful, edible and attracts pollinators, it needs to be planted separately or with ornamentals as it can inhibit the growth of vegetables,' says Clapp. .

From Seed to Harvest: A guide to growing fennel.

Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with overlapping layers similar to cabbage and long fronds resembling dill.The fronds can be used in salads, but the vegetable is often grown for its bulb, which produces a crunchy texture with a taste similar to licorice.As fennel doesn’t transplant well, plant seeds directly in the garden after the last spring frost. .

How to Grow Fennel

Common Name Fennel, sweet fennel, common fennel Botanical Name Foeniculum vulgare Family Apiaceae Plant Type Perennial, herb Size 4–6 feet tall, 1.5–3 ft. wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Moist, well-drained Soil pH Acidic (5.5–6.8) Bloom Time Summer Hardiness Zones 4–9 (USDA) Native Area Mediterranean.Fennel should not be planted in the same area as dill or coriander, as cross-pollination can occur and affect the flavor of the seeds.Plants should be spaced around 6 to 12 inches apart, and they typically won't need a support structure.Fennel prefers full sunlight, meaning at least six hours of direct sun on most days.Water whenever the soil feels dry about an inch down, but don’t allow the plant to become waterlogged.Gardeners in mild climates are sometimes able to plant in the late summer for a fall harvest as long as the temperature remains fairly warm.The plant grows best in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and in moderate humidity levels.The main species plant, common or herb fennel, doesn't produce much of a bulb and is typically grown for its foliage.'Zefa fino' is a large variety that's ready for harvest in 80 days and is bolt resistant.'Orion' is ready to harvest in 80 days and has large, thick, rounded bulbs with a crisp texture.An unglazed clay container is ideal to allow excess soil moisture to escape through its walls.Watch for seed heads to form on a mature fennel plant at the end of its growing season.Store the seeds in an airtight labeled container, and plant them in the garden the following spring.Soak seeds in water for a day or two prior to planting to speed up germination.Seeds also can be started indoors about four weeks before your last projected frost date in the spring under grow lights.Be sure to gradually acclimate indoor seedlings to outdoor conditions before planting them in the garden after the weather warms.For container growth, aim to choose a pot that will accommodate the plant's mature size right from the start to avoid having to repot.If frost is expected in your area, go ahead and harvest the rest of your fennel plant.In mild climates, fennel plants can be overwintered for a second growing season, but they usually degrade after that.Fennel rarely suffers from serious pest or disease problems, though caterpillars might chew on the leaves.Most often, they are parsley worm caterpillars, which evolve into black swallowtail butterflies, beneficial pollinators for the garden.You can, therefore, choose to ignore these green caterpillars with black and yellow bands if they're not causing a major issue. .

Growing fennel — bulb, herb, pollen

Pam is the garden manager at Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia.Many people grow fennel as the herb, for leaves and seeds, for salads, soups, fish dishes and teas.Here in zone 7, we sow Zefa Fino March 10, for April 10-26 transplanting, along an edge of a bed with parsnips, celery and (later) asparagus beans.If your climate and timing give you the choice, direct sow and thin, rather than transplanting, to reduce the likelihood of bolting.In northern latitudes, gardeners wait till the summer solstice to sow any bulb fennel.Transplant outdoors in mid-spring to late summer when plants are 3-4” tall, and 4-6 weeks old, before they become root-bound, and when they can be removed easily without disturbing the roots.The plants will grow 36” tall or more, and the stems and delicate foliage can be eaten or made into teas.Zefa Fino is more tolerant of stress than some of the traditional Italian varieties, so if your climate or timing is borderline, try this one.Preludio and Orazio (both 80 days) are F1 hybrids from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, that have a higher yield potential than open pollinated fennels.The two seasons for planting bulb fennel in zone 7 are March-April and July-August – the same dates that work for broccoli, beets and other cool weather crops.Rich, well-drained soil, regularly irrigated, and cool temperatures produce top quality bulbs.Mulching (with organic materials such as straw or hay) can be a good strategy to trap soil moisture and cooler temperatures in spring – the bulbs will be sweeter and more tender.If you leave them to grow larger, the plants will probably bolt and the flavor of the bulbs will quickly become bitter.Use a sharp knife or pruners to cut the bulb free just above taproot, right at the soil line.Bulb fennel is high in vitamin C, and is also a good source of calcium, fiber and potassium.According to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange www.southernexposure.com, medicinally, fennel stimulates digestion while reducing the likelihood of flatulence.Because it is an uncommon crop in this country, it is probably wise to offer your customers some guidelines on how to prepare and eat it.The color of the small seedlings of bronze fennel renders them almost invisible, so take care when weeding.The green leaf type is even easier and up to ten days quicker to grow.Fennel can be overwintered in mild areas (Zones 7-10) to provide seed the second summer.The feathery foliage has a sweet anise flavor and is a tasty addition to salads, cole slaw, and dressings.Fennel seeds are used in teas and tinctures as a digestive aid, expectorant, and a tonic for the spleen, kidneys, and reproductive system.Johnny’s warns that too much moisture at bloom time can prevent the formation of a good crop of seeds.Spread the freshly gathered seeds (plump and grey-green) in a single layer on a horizontal window screen.The feathery seedlings make an attractive ingredient for microgreen mixes and plate garnishes.Johnny’s sells a special variety called Grosfruchtiger for microgreens, although any kind can be used.In addition to producing pollen, fennel flowers come in small clusters that many beneficial insects like ladybugs like to feed upon.On the other hand, there's a pretty good chance that if you grow fennel on your farm, it will go to seed at some point, and here's how to harvest it.Tie the bags closed and hang them in a cool, dark and dry area with the stems pointing up.Tap the sides of the bags every couple of days for two weeks as the flowers dry.Tip the fennel pollen and other plant matter from the bag into a fine mesh strainer resting over a bowl or bucket.Sift the pollen through the sieve, to remove the other plant matter and the larger tiny wildlife.If you need to kill any teeny tiny wildlife, you can microwave the pollen for 10 seconds.Collecting one ounce can take an hour, so a selling price of $15 suddenly doesn’t seem outrageous. .

How to Grow and Care for Fennel in Your Herb Patch

The edible yellow blossoms, seeds, feathery leaves, pollen, roots, and stems have long been prized for their robust, anise-like fragrance and flavor, and their usefulness as ingredients in cooking, magical potions, and traditional medicine.If you grow the common type, you can prevent its spread by removing flower heads before they run to seed.Remember to consult with your local agricultural extension service before adding fennel to your herb garden.F. vulgare has upright, branching growth, finely feathered green leaves, and yellow blossoms in flattened “umbels,” resembling those of other Apiaceae family members.The dulce type has even sweeter seeds that offer the best flavor when pressed to extract their aromatic essential oils.F.

vulgare varieties are cool-weather crops that perform best when planted in either early spring, or late summer to fall.It found a welcome place in the kitchen, where the stems, leaves, and fruits were used in recipes to mask poor quality food with the pleasant aroma exuded by its aromatic compounds.Throughout the Middle Ages, traditional practitioners believed it was capable of curing ailments ranging from anti-inflammatory to GI and pulmonary problems.In superstitious circles, the mere presence of the herb was thought to ward off evil spirits and render witches’ spells ineffective.By the 1700s, the familiar herb was classified as F. vulgare Mill, after English botanist and gardener Phillip Miller.However, by the 1800s, French critic, novelist, and journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr decried the herb in his A Tour Round My Garden, in which he stated in his section on fennel, “At the end of three or four hundred years it was discovered that this had never cured anybody.”.In modern times, India has taken the lead worldwide in commercial fennel production, and seeds are readily available for home garden planting.If you want to grow fennel in the spring, it’s best to start seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date for your region.Also, because of the temperamental taproot, it’s wise to use seed starter cells that biodegrade, and transplant them in their entirety to the garden after the danger of frost has passed.If you don’t know the composition or pH of the earth in your garden, conduct a soil test through your local agricultural extension service, and amend as needed with compost or other rich organic matter, sand for better drainage, and lime to sweeten overly acidic soil.However, avoid soggy soil, as it makes seedlings prone to a fatal fungal condition called “damping off,” which causes them to fall over and die.Let them acclimate to the outdoors by remaining in their seed starter pots for a day or two to harden off before transplanting into the garden.They are also susceptible to “tip burn,” a condition in which insufficient watering may inhibit calcium uptake and cause the edges of the layers to turn brown.Avert trouble with proper watering and harvest when the bulbs are young and about tennis ball sized, as opposed to older and larger.Ken Adams and Dan Drost of the Utah University Extension recommend using three tablespoons of a 21-0-0 (NPK) fertilizer for every 10 feet of rows planted.If you are growing Florence types you can keep the bulbs snowy white by mounding soil or mulch up around them when the vegetables first begin to swell.Adding mulch over the top of the bulb-like roots of the Florence varieties ensure that they remain white and more satisfying in culinary endeavors.If there is, you can snip the ends off the foliage to prevent bud formation, seed drop, and potentially invasive growth.If you should have a particularly warm spell, plants may “bolt” or suddenly go to seed, causing maturity to come to a grinding halt.And finally, weed the garden regularly to reduce competition for water, deter pests, and inhibit moisture buildup that can lead to disease, especially of a fungal nature.Find bronze fennel seeds from True Leaf Market in a variety of packet sizes.Florence Don’t forget to blanch the snowy bulbs with soil or mulch to keep them from browning in the sun.Orion At 24 inches tall, this hybrid is one of the more compact bulb varieties, appreciated for being less leggy than taller cultivars.When you start with quality seed, cultivate during cool weather, provide rich soil that drains well, don’t overwater, and keep the garden free of weeds, pests and disease issues should be minimal.You may find that rabbits take quite an interest in your plants, but deer and groundhogs don’t seem to care for its aroma.If you decide you just can’t share, either pick them off by hand, or try adding a few attractions to the yard like a bird feeder or an inviting birdbath, and let avian visitors help keep them in check.These are primarily fungal conditions, with the exception of downy mildew, which is caused by a water mold called an oomycete.In light of this possibility, I recommend not taking the advice of some gardeners who suggest planting fennel beside rose bushes so the swallowtail caterpillars can eat the aphids that often plague them.You can pick the tender young shoots of common varieties to enjoy as tasty microgreens, while mature leaves are exceptional when chopped finely as a fresh herb.When harvesting, try not to take more than one-third of the entire plant at once to avoid shocking it into bolting, or prematurely running to seed.Plants may be able to tolerate a light frost, but if there’s a hard freeze predicted, harvest what you can in a hurry, including digging up the roots to use as you would carrots, if you’re so inclined.I like to slice the bulbs of Florence types in sections about an inch thick, and store them covered in water in an airtight container in the fridge.You can also store whole bulbs in the fridge for three to five days, or up to a week and a half if you place a damp paper towel over them.Snip off the feathery foliage you want for use in salads and as fragrant garnishes, or toss it into savory cooked dishes as you would with dill.Pollen scraped and gathered from dry flowers saves well in a sealed jar for approximately two years.From flowers, foliage, and pollen, to bulbs, seeds, roots, and the extraction of essential oils, F.

vulgare varieties offer much to the home cook.And, the aromatic essential oils released from the chemical compounds, including anethole and fenchole, do indeed possess anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and promote digestion, just as the ancients believed.If you’ve never liked brussels sprouts, then you haven’t tried them al dente, cooked with bacon, and flavored with the taste of fennel and fresh dill. .

How to Grow Fennel & Have a King's Harvest at Home

It's one of the world’s healthiest foods, being chock full of many essential nutrients.They possess a mild aniseed flavor, but they are sweeter and more aromatic than anise.Here are thirteen things to keep in mind that will help you in growing fennel and harvest the best quality and quantity of crop.All parts including the bulb, stalk, and leaves are used in culinary preparations—especially in salads.You can soak your seeds in water for a couple of days before planting in soil, and this will make germination easier.If you leave the base and a little bit of the bulb attached when cutting up fennel, you can easily propagate it in water.Once you place the piece in water it'll grow new green shoots in a few days.You should sow your fennel seeds in early spring or late summer for the best results.Fennel grows best and produces a good harvest in locations that receive full sun.They prefer cool weather and grow best in places that have temperatures between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.I repeat that because you should calculate in not only the added heat from the sun but the wind factor as well, both of which can knock you out of the desirable temperature tolerance ranges.Fennel needs soil that is well draining and rich in organic matter.There's no point in learning how to grow fennel if you aren't using the most beneficial soil makeup and nutrition.The best way to calculate an exact date is to work backwards from the first fall frost, subtracting 90 to 110 days.Some farmers and gardeners in the northern latitudes will transplant their bulbs on the summer solstice, which offers a declining temperature afterwards but in the right tolerance ranges.If the weather is especially hot, another half an inch of water is a good idea.They need a lot of direct light, so if you are planning on growing them indoors you can place the pots on balconies and patios.Fennels planted in pots dry out faster, so they need to be watered more frequently as well.Because of their wispy, fancy foliage, bright yellow flowers and their height, herb fennel is also grown for ornamental purposes in gardens.The Florence fennel, on the other hand, is shorter and has broader foliage in a deeper shade of green.You don't want to take too many leaves at once or you'll harm the plants health and ability to fend off pests and disease.You can cut off the long taproot and stalk from the bulbs and store them in a cool place for weeks.Learn how to grow fennel all you want but it won't matter if you let insects or disease ruin it.Parsley worm is the caterpillar stage of the black swallowtail butterfly.They're also quite hardy plants as they've adapted well to other climate zones, although they can’t survive in extremely frosty conditions.In France, the emperor Charlemagne even declared fennel as an essential herb that had to be planted in every garden, because of its potential as a health supporter.This plant will give you returns for years on end if you take care of it properly. .

How to Grow Fennel Plants

Fennel is a tender perennial, which means the plant may make it through the winter in warm areas, but is sensitive to cold.Be sure to look for vigorous young fennel plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been helping home gardeners succeed for over a century.For best results, improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.Both Miracle-Gro products are enriched with aged compost and provide just the right organic nutrition to get plants off to a strong start.Stick your finger into the soil to check moisture; if the top inch is dry, it's time to water.Once blooms begin to appear, you can either pinch them to prevent the plant from going to seed, or just go ahead and let it flower, to attract beneficial insects.The main pest that seems to bother fennel is the parsleyworm, which looks like a green caterpillar with black and yellow bands.Bulbs can be sliced for use in salads and side dishes, or roasted to mellow the strong flavor.Fennel flowers are edible, and make wonderful garnishes for fish, meat, potato, and tomato dishes.Fennel stems also look wonderful in fresh bouquets.Get gardening info on the go with our free app, HOMEGROWN with Bonnie Plants. .

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