Fennel seeds

Planting fennel by seed is the easiest option. Fennel grows a taproot and is best sown in place. If started indoors, plant in individual peat pots so that taproots are not disturbed at transplanting. Sow seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Sow fennel in Plant fennel in well-drained compost-rich soil. Best is to sow each seed in individual pots. If there is no possibility plant the seeds approximately ten inches (25 cm) apart and cover them with a light layer of soil, about 1⁄8 inch (0.3 cm) deep. It’s probably a good idea to plant a few more seeds than you need, then thin them out later.

The pungent aroma is considered inviting, while the rich, earthy flavor is known to significantly contribute to the taste of many dishes. Fennel is high in vitamin C and has been used as an herbal remedy for digestive issues for many thousands of years. In addition, its delicate, green fronds are aesthetically pleasing, making fennel an excellent addition to any garden. The type of fennel you choose to grow will depend on what part of the fennel plant you wish to use — the bulb, the fronds or the seeds. Florence Fennel is grown for its bulbous stem, which can be eaten raw, grilled or baked. It is also possible to eat the thicker stalks which sprout from the bulb, as they are similar to celery. Herb fennel does not produce the same bulbous stem. It is grown for its delicate leaves, which are used as a herb. Herb fennel also produces seeds which have a licorice-like flavor (as does the rest of the plant) and are used for seasoning. The seeds should be planted directly into the garden, around the time of the last spring frost. Plant the fennel seeds in fertile, well drained soil. If necessary, loosen the soil a little before planting and add in some compost and a little soil for drainage. Plant the fennel far away from any dill or coriander — these plants tend to cross-pollinate, which reduces seed production and affects the taste. If you prefer, you can plant the fennel seeds in containers approximately 4 weeks before the last spring frost. Once the seedlings have grown to height of 3 or 4 inches (7 or 10 cm), you can harden them off in a cool greenhouse or cold frame before transplanting them to the garden. Alternatively, you can keep the fennel in a container. As fennel is a deep-rooted plant, it will require a container at last 12 inches (30 cm) deep, filled with light soil with some added gravel for drainage. If you plant more than one fennel plant in a container of this size, it will be too crowded to produce a large bulb, but you will still be able to enjoy the leaves and seeds. Fennel grows best in full-sun. At first, you should water it regularly to keep the soil moist. Once it has established itself, you may only need to water it if there is a drought. Be careful not to overwater, as this may cause the roots to rot. Once the bulb begins to form at the base of the stem, hill up the surrounding soil to cover it. This shades it from the sun and prevents it from turning green. This is known as “blanching”, as it keeps the bulb white and sweet (which is only necessary if you intend to eat the bulb). You can start harvesting the fennel leaves once the plant becomes well-established. Don’t take too many leaves at once though, or you might harm the plant. Florence fennel bulbs can be harvested once they reach the size of a small tennis ball, usually in late summer/early autumn. To harvest, cut the fennel below the bulb at the soil line. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for several days. Fennel bulbs will survive a frost or two, so there is no rush to harvest them as soon as the weather turns cold. However, you shouldn’t allow the fennel bulb to grow too large, or it will turn bitter. Fennel leaves and seeds have a pleasant licorice-like flavor. Fresh stalks can be eaten like celery. Harvest the bulb of Florence fennel while still tender, just before flowering. Eat it raw or cooked as a vegetable. Keep fresh fennel in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper; use fennel within three days. To collect fennel seeds, cut the seed head and put it in a paper bag in a warm dry place; seeds will drop into the bag as they ripen and dry. Chop and freeze the leaves in a zippered bag for later use. Dried leaves and seeds can be stored in an airtight jar.

Herb Seeds

Vegetable Seeds