Fennel is a beautiful and useful herb for the garden. The feathery, fern-like appearance adds color and texture to your planting. It also has a strong, licorice-like flavor. Fennel is a tender perennial, can survive winter in warm areas, but is sensitive to cold. Most gardeners grow it as an annual. With our tips, you’re sure to be successful when growing fennel!
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What are the types of fennel?
There are two main types of fennel – the traditional herb variety, Foeniculum vulgare,with feathery green or bronze-colored leaves, and the closely related fennel bulb (Florence fennel), which is harvested whole.
Both are worth adding to your list of kitchen garden ideas because they enhance so many dishes, from fish and vegetables to curries, soups and sauces.
Growing Fennel: Instructions
Using seeds to grow fennel is the best option for this perennial plant. Seedlings do not like to be transplanted, so it is best to sow them directly in the place where you want the plants to grow.
- Choose a location with plenty of sun and a well-drained soil.
- Do not plant fennel near dill or the herbs will cross-pollinate, which will negatively affect the flavor.
- Sow seeds as soon as the soil can be worked early in the season.
- Work plenty of organic material into the soil.
- Sow the rows 40 cm apart and the seeds thinly and cover them with soil.
- Water the soil and keep it moist, but do not overwater. Germination should take 1-2 weeks.
- When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to about 12 inches apart.
- Re-seed every few weeks until late summer to ensure a continuous supply of tuber.
- Once established, tuber doesn’t need much care – water only as needed, especially in hot weather, and fertilize occasionally.
- Remove dead stems at the end of the growing season.
- Although fennel is a perennial herb, it will need to be replaced after 3-4 years.
Planting fennel bulbs
Fennel bulbs – also known as Florence fennel – are not quite as easy to grow as herb fennel, but they are worth the effort because they can be eaten raw or cooked. Even for experienced gardeners, Florentine fennel is a challenge.
The problem with fennel bulbs is that they tend to fade, that is, the plant blooms too short and goes to seed too quickly. To prevent fennel bulbs from shooting, choose a shoot-resistant variety, do not sow too early, do not transplant the seedlings and keep the soil moist.
- Grow fennel in the garden is suitable in mid to late spring.
- Sow the seeds directly in the place where you want the plants to grow.
- You can also grow fennel on the balcony . Sow only one seed per small pot or module.
- Plant the seeds about half an inch deep in rows about 15 inches apart. Sow the seeds thinly and cover them with soil.
- When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 30 centimeters apart.
- Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season to minimize the risk of bolting.
- You can cover the bulbs with soil as they grow, which will protect them from late frosts.
- Feed the plants every two weeks with a calibrated fertilizer.
- You can harvest the bulbs from late summer to fall.
The necessary care of fennel plants
In order to grow fennel properly, you need to take the appropriate care . Enclosed are our tips:
Fennel prefers full sunlight, which means at least six hours of direct sun on most days. It will go limp in shady locations.
Plant bulb in moist, fertile, well-drained soil. It prefers a slightly acidic pH.
Fennel likes evenly moist soil, but not too wet. Water whenever the soil feels dry to the touch at about an inch deep, but don’t let the plant get waterlogged.
Temperature and humidity
The plant is sensitive to frost and low temperatures. Also, hot and dry conditions can cause the tuber to bolt and the seeds to drop out. Gardeners in mild climates can sometimes plant the plant in late summer and harvest it in the fall as long as temperatures remain reasonably high. The plant does best in moderate humidity.
Tuber is happy with compost worked into the soil at planting and a layer of compost spread around the plant every few months during the growing season.
Growing Fennel: Pest and disease control.
Growing fennel can sometimes be accompanied by herbivores, pests and diseases.
Some pests to watch out for are:
- Slugs and slugs
- Caterpillars of the swallowtail, also called parsley worms
To control aphids and thrips, a strong spray of water from a hose may be all that is needed. For large outbreaks, an application of organic neem oil may be a useful treatment. For slugs and slugs, you can set traps and dispose of the caught specimens. The swallowtail caterpillar will likely feed on the aphids, but it will also eat the foliage. You can remove them by hand.