Florence fennel grows best during warm summers and needs an open, sunny site with fertile, moist but well-drained soil.Sowing one seed per module avoids pricking out and means the young plants can be transplanted outdoors with minimal root disturbance. .

Fennel : From Seeds To Harvest

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

Native to Mediterranean region, the bulbous base and stalk is popular eaten raw like celery, cooked, or boiled.Closely related to Parsley, Fennel is popular in Italian and other Mediterranean recipes.Also called Florence Fennel or Finuccio, it is easy to grow and very hardy, lasting well after the first frost.With bright green, fern-like leaves and aromatic yellow flowers, this plant will grow three to four feet tall.Directly sow Fennel seeds into your garden as early in the season as the ground can be worked.Fennel can be started off indoors in mid May and sown until late June.Cover the seeds with another layer of compost then scrape across the top of the tray with a stick to remove excess.A good tip is to use a plastic bottle with small holes punched in the cap.When growing seedlings indoors you be careful they don't get leggy, i.e. long spindly plants.You can make a makeshift light box by placing a sheet of reflective tinfoil on the room side of the seedling tray.You do need to be careful, however, not to let the compost plug completely dry out or it will form a crust on top and won't absorb the moisture the next time you water.You can leave the cloche off the plants on dry frost free days and replace at night.Gradually increase the time with the cloche removed until the end of the week when you leave it off day and night.If the weather is mild you may not need the cloche, just move the plants outside for longer periods each day.If you have started your seeds on a windowsill you will need to leave them in an unheated room for a day or two before moving outside to the cloche.You can plant out your fennel seedlings 4 or 5 weeks after your sowing date providing the weather id good.Don't firm down on the top of the soil as this can compact it and prevent moisture getting down to the plants roots.If carrot root fly is a major problem in your garden it can also affect fennel.Fungal disease can be a problem for some crops and weeds can contribute to this by cutting down the air circulation around your plants.This is because it breaks up the top layer of the soil and lets air and moisture circulate freely.The added moisture and air speeds up microbial activity which breaks down organic matter and releases nutrients to your plants roots.They are very hardy and should continue to thrive and grow, even after a number of hard frosts. .

How to grow herb fennel / RHS Gardening

Fennel dislikes having its roots disturbed or being transplanted, so it is best sown where it is to grow, into pots or in the ground.If you want to start seeds off indoors, then sow singly in modules from early spring.You can sow seeds outdoors from mid-spring, into a warm, sunny spot in light free-draining soil.The generic green common fennel whose stems, feathery leaves and seeds are widely used.Chopped leaves are used in salads, vegetable dishes, soups and stuffing’s, seeds with sauces, breads and seafood.A sparser plant for stem and leaf but the flowers and the pollen can be harvested and a dried making a stunning gourmet powder.They suck sap and excrete sticky honeydew, encouraging the growth of black sooty moulds.Use your finger and thumb to squash aphid colonies or use biological control in the greenhouse.These feed on the young seedlings and you'll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape and biocontrols. .

How to grow fennel: as a herb or vegetable

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. .

How to grow and care for fennel

There are two types of fennel, herb and Florence, both of which are extremely popular – as well as highly ornamental – and much loved by cooks for use in the kitchen for their aniseed-liquorice flavours.dulce) is grown as a tender annual vegetable, loved for its crunchy, swollen stems.Herb fennel will grow perfectly well in a position in full sun or in partial shade.Direct sow seeds thinly outdoors from March/April to July into well-prepared soil when temperatures reach around 13-18°C (55-64°F).Dig over the planting area, incorporating some organic matter – such as compost or leafmould, especially if the soil is heavy clay.Florence fennel doesn't always transplant well and it is best grown from seed, sown direct where you want it to crop.Removing developing flower heads will prolong the supply of leaves, but the seeds themselves are also useful and can be used in cooking.Fennel is a hardy perennial herb, which will die back to ground level in winter.When this happens, tidy up the plants by cutting back flower stems and removing dead and dying foliage.Florence fennel can bolt (run to seed prematurely) if there is a check in growth.Keep the soil around plants weed free and earth up around the bulbs during the growing period to make them sweet and white. .

How to Know When Fennel Is Ripe

They produce flat heads with many tiny yellow flowers in mid- to late-summer, and their leaves are finely dissected, giving them a decorative, feathery appearance.Florence fennel bulbs should be harvested when they’re the size of a small fist or a tennis ball .If you wait too long, the plants may begin to flower, and this causes the bulbs to lose their shape and flavor.The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and even into the winter in areas that don’t experience hard frosts.Fennel seeds are ready to be harvested in the fall when they’ve matured and turned brown.For a regular supply of fresh fennel shoots, grow five or plants when they’re established, and cut all the stems of one or two of them to ground level.Dip the blades of the pruning shears in rubbing alcohol to prevent the spread of diseases and pests before and after harvesting the plants.Soil that’s rich in nutrients produces tall plants, but it reduces the flavor potential.The best time to sow sweet fennel seeds is immediately after the final frost in spring.Florence fennel seeds should be sown in mid-summer to avoid the risk of having the plants flower before the bulbs are formed.Few diseases or pests routinely attack fennel, but the plants may suffer from root rot when they’re grown in wet conditions.Growing the plant in the well-drained, sandy soil it prefers goes a long way in preventing problems with rot. .

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. .

DIY: Fennel Seed Harvesting

It was not ground breaking, but when a bunch of decorative fennel that I had hung upside down on the front door began dropping seeds, I was in awe.The fennel had been there since November, replete with flowering heads, and had provided a lovely smell of anise whenever the door was opened.Almost as easy as harvesting fennel seeds is this recipe for DIY Eau de Cologne. .


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