Wild (really feral) fennel differs from garden fennel in that it rarely sets a bulb and has smaller seeds than the domesticated variety. There are multiple uses for this aromatic garden giant. These are available at different stages of the development of the fennel plant. Large spherical blooms stand proudly on sturdy stems, and are popular with bees and butterflies. Cut the feathery leaves off at the stem. The seeds can be harvested when ripe, in late summer or early fall. This usually occurs in late summer, but keep an eye on them to ensure you harvest them as soon as they are ready. It reseeds itself aggressively and although it’s not invasive, it will spread rapidly. "All About Growing Fennel" Fennel is both a vegetable and an herb, depending on which variety you grow. The feathery stalks can reach heights of 8 feet creating butterfly habitat and backdrop for shorter plants. Harvesting happens after about 2 months. The herb fennel is incredibly versatile and you can harvest the leaves from a few months after sowing the seeds. The key to success is to prepare a bed of well-drained, fertile soil in an open site. Harvesting . Troubleshooting. See some of the tasty recipes using Florence fennel, from our friends at Olive Magazine. Fennel seeds pack huge flavor. About Wild Fennel. When do I harvest my bulb fennel? The advantage is that fennel has a rapid turnaround, growing quickly to produce edible bulbs within 14–16 weeks, so that the bulbs can be harvested in mid October before the first frosts. ‘Sirio’ – quick to mature, this variety is best sown in May-June for harvesting in autumn, ‘Perfection’ – this bolt-resistant variety produces medium-sized bulbs with a delicate aniseed flavour. Enjoy towering lilies with gigantic, scented blooms. Red berries grow on sleek green leaves to increase the aesthetic appeal of this bushy shrub. After removing the stalk, add some earth around the base, wait about 10 days, and then harvest the bulb. You can earth up the bulbs as they start to swell, but this isn’t always necessary. From the team at Gardeners' World Magazine, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine – try 3 issues for only £5. If you want to get an early start with Florence fennel, sow seeds into modules under cover. It thrives on warm, moist, fertile, sandy soils. Cooler-climate gardeners can direct-sow seed into the garden and harvest at the beginning of summer; soaking seed for several days improves germination. Snip tender young leaves as needed in the kitchen. Both are perennials down to Zone 6 (winter lows down to -10°F) and possibly down into Zone 5, where winter temps drop all the way to -20°F. It can be a little tricky to grow, but with the right care and attention, a home grown crop is well worth the effort. Some will still need to be picked by hand. Space seedlings or thin plants to 10-12" apart, in rows 18-24 inches apart. Harvesting Fennel. When it comes to which part of the plant to harvest, the choice is yours. I have had most success with 'Colossal' from Real Seeds, which produces large, pale greeny-white bulbs with a good strong flavour, and 'Romanesco', a well-known Italian cultivar, again with large bulbs and a sweet, aromatic flavour. Using shears, snip whole seed heads off of the plant into the paper bag. Start a new planting in mid summer to harvest in the Autumn. Protect young plants from slugs and snails. Choose bolt-resistant varieties, as Florence fennel is very prone to bolting, particularly when sown early in the season. Fennel is a culinary herb, a spice, a vegetable, a medicinal, and an excellent addition to any garden. Most varieties of fennel are herbal and will not produce a bulb. The leaves and stem can also be used as seasoning for fish and in salads. Now that you know how to grow fennel bulb, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting! You can harvest the fronds once the plant is established, clip off the top portion to encourage growth. Store the bag in a dry place for a couple of days to a week until all the moisture is gone from the seed heads. Give plants a boost every couple of weeks with a high potash feed. You know they are ready to harvest when they turn from green to brown. Grows best in cool weather. Harvesting fennel bulbs. This foliage can be chopped and added to recipes, or brewed into an anise-like tea. Florence fennel bulbs can be harvested once they reach the size of a small tennis ball, usually in late summer/early autumn. The fennel had been there since November, replete with flowering heads, and had provided a lovely smell of anise whenever the door was opened. Subscribe to BBC Gardeners' World Magazine and receive your first 3 issues for only £5. The plants dislike root disturbance. Late variety ‘fennel of Parma’ by seedsofitaly.co.uk can be sown in late July/August to be harvested early winter. Growing Florence fennel in the home garden is an easy way to bring this versatile, aromatic plant into your recipes and home. Sowing in cold soil or during cold weather can induce bolting (running to seed prematurely) before the crop is ready to harvest. Your Florence fennel bulbs will be ready to harvest in about 14 weeks. If the weather becomes unseasonably warm, all fennel, including finocchio, will bolt, which means it will produce flowers too soon and the bulb won’t form. Fennel is a Great Garden Addition that Increases Pollination. Bulbs are best used soon after cutting. Herb fennel will naturally begin to flower more toward the end of the season. Florence fennel is the bulbous edible version of the more familiar herb, sharing the same distinctive aniseed flavour. The first is the common or herb type, Foeniculum vulgare, prized for the anise-like flavor of its feathery leaves and robust seeds. Planting and Harvesting Calendar < Back to All Plants Save There are two types of sweet fennel. Harvesting. Florence fennel. Water in well and keep moist. Fennel germinates quickly in soils that are well-drained and in a sunny location. Fennel seeds should be harvested as soon as they turn from green to brown on the stalk. There are three main types of this aromatic plant. Herb fennel will naturally begin to flower more toward the end of the season. Florence fennel can be eaten raw, braised, casseroled or boiled. This takes approximately 65-90 days. You will want to cut fennel early in the harvest season to help make sure it continues to grow in a bushy fashion. Do not remove more than one-third of the vegetative growth to ensure the plant will continue to grow. Direct sow seeds thinly outdoors from March/April to July into well-prepared soil when temperatures reach around 13-18°C (55-64°F). Save The second is Florence or bulb style, which produces crisp celery-like bulbs bursting with anise-like flavor in addition to fragrant foliage and seeds. In some climates, fennel grows better in fall than in spring. Planting Florence Fennel. Directly sow Fennel seeds into your garden as early in the season as the ground can be worked. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for several days. Gathering and using the blooms as cut flowers will prevent excessive reseeding. Cut the bulb with a sharp knife at the soil surface. Harvest fennel leaves, shoots, seeds and bulbs by cutting the stems with pruning shears, and digging up the bulbs. Growing crunchy bulb fennel (also called finocchio) is easy in spring and fall, or you can keep a feathery mound of perennial fennel as a steady source of fennel fronds. Plant out modules as soon as possible once the … Freshly picked fennel makes a great addition to summer salads but is also delicious cooked as an accompaniment to meat dishes, or on its own. Any shock to the system will affect the growth of the tender, edible bulb and cause the plant to bolt, flower and set seed quite rapidly. Trim away any stems or flower heads from the top of the plant and store in the refrigerator. You can harvest fennel leaves as needed for fresh use. Storing and Harvesting Fennel You can eat pretty much any part of the fennel plant from its seed to its bulb. They will also easily detach from the plant when they are fully ripe and viable. Later in the season, you can sow directly into well-prepared, warm soil. Much of the research that has validated fennel’s health benefits has been done with fennel seeds, which are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects. They’re tasty both raw in salads and cooked. This may re-sprout and produce a second harvest of smaller, tender shoots. It is often found along roadsides or disturbed areas, and … Clip the leaves from a fennel plant as soon as they begin growing tall and feathery. Your plants won’t be happy if left to dry out, or if an unexpected frost takes them by surprise. Continue to harvest leaves as needed throughout the season. This may re-sprout and produce a second harvest of smaller, tender shoots. At that point, you should be able to shake the bag vigorously to detach the seeds from the heads. During late fall the plant will die back and the leaves will brown. Prune back fennel plants in mid autumn, before cold weather turns the plants to mush. Fennel bulbs take about 12 to 14 weeks from seed to harvest and depend on cool weather for bulb development. Larger bulbs are likely to be bitter or tough. How and What to Harvest. Sow one seed per module, as the seedlings don’t like having their roots disturbed when transplanted. You know they are ready to harvest when they turn from green to brown. When conditions are right, when to harvest fennel bulbs depends … Follow the expert advice in this guide to grow your own Florence fennel. Gather fennel fronds as you need them in the kitchen. Remove the larger leaves from the bulb. Florence fennel grows best during warm summers and needs an open, sunny site. Sow seeds early in the season and cover with 1/4" of soil. Be it spring, summer or autumn, there is always something available to harvest from a fennel plant. In my family, this vegetable has always been a holiday treat known by its Italian name, “finocchio.” Save W… Harvesting. Planting out Fennel Seedlings Here’s how to harvest them properly. You can also deadhead it … Troubleshooting. In most climates, bulb fennel or finocchio can be grown twice a year, in spring and fall, on a growing and planting schedule similar to that of broccoli. Not only do you get a culinary spice from harvesting fennel seed, but the seed can be planted in next years garden. Wild fennel is native to the Mediterranean, but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world. Cut the bulb above the soil, but leave the root in the ground. They will also easily detach from the plant when they are fully ripe and viable. The fennel you eat - you should be able to see the bulb above the soil, once it gets to a size you think you want to eat it, cut it level with the soil, then you should get some shoots off whats left to eat too, but they won't form new bulbs. When the roots fill the modules, ‘harden off’ the seedlings and plant out into a well-prepared and fertilised beds, when there’s no danger of frost. Months later I had yet to take it down—and when I found the seeds on the ground, it was like discovering gold. DIY: Fennel Seed Harvesting. iPhone Photos by Sarah Lonsdale. The longest day of the year marks a distinct turning point in the gardener’s calendar, with summer well and truly in command and, hopefully, the first flush of harvests coming and thick and fast if not already snaffled up. Cut them off to the ground and use them as you would celery. Here’s how to harvest them properly. Sow in early spring in small pots or modules under cover, or in mid-spring direct where it is to grow. Your Florence fennel bulbs will be ready to harvest in about 14 weeks. The bulb is in fact the swollen base of the stem. Place seeds in rows, approximately 1.5mm deep, thinning to 30cm apart. For those in the Northern Hemisphere the longest day of the year falls on either the 20th or 21st June. Bolting can also be caused by root disturbance, so it's best to … Both forms are a flavoursome delight and given a little know-how should be within every gardener’s reach. Check the soil pH before planting Florence fennel. Planting and Harvesting Calendar < Back to All Plants The easiest way to harvest fennel seeds is to shake the seed heads over a sheet or tarp to collect the seeds. Harvesting Fennel Bulb: Harvest fennel stalks when they are almost ready to flower. As Florence fennel develops, the stem grows fat and round until it is about the size of a tennis ball. It’s a good variety for early sowing, ‘Cantino’ – a bolt-resistant variety with good strong flavour, ‘Amigo’ RHS AGM – good, regular, but slightly flatter bulbs and is bolt-resistant, ‘Colossal’ – a bolt resistant variety that produces a very large bulb. The bulbs of florence fennel should be ready for harvest in August-October when they are no larger than the size of a tennis ball. Remove fennel stems from just … Sow in cooler climates or, for early crops, better to sow in modules as single seedlings to avoid root damage. Once your seedlings have been planted out, make sure they’re regularly watered. Harvest bulbs that are between 2 and 3 inches in diameter. When to Harvest Fennel Bulbs. It’s a firm favourite with wildlife – pollinators and birds are drawn to this variety as it offers food and shelter. You can even chew on a seed to freshen breath. Alpine fennel ‘fenchel’ also available. Pick the last of the seeds as you remove the empty heads. They are shaped like umbrellas and have one central shoot; so one snip should remove the entire head. As soon as the plant is well established and growing leaves you can begin harvesting them. To keep plants moist, use a thick mulch over the soil which will also help to suppress weeds. We show you how to grow Florence fennel, in this start-to-finish Grow Guide. Fennel can reseed to the point of weediness. Fennel imparts its aniseed flavour to many fish dishes, chicken recipes, stuffings and salads, and is available as either a herb (herb fennel) or a bulb-like vegetable (Florence fennel). Cutting off the flower heads will encourage more leaf growth. Let the seeds dry well before storing them in a cool, dark place. When the bulbs reach 3 inches in diameter, pull them and store in the refrigerator. You may want to try a cold version of … It is considered an invasive plant, so please harvest and use as much as you want! This is perfect for salads and herbal teas that you want a more subtle flavor in. Cut the bulb above the soil, but leave the root in the ground. Bitter and sweet fennel are both used as herbs. Feed every 3 weeks with a liquid organic fertiliser, and use a rich, biodegradable mulch such as grass clippings. To harvest, cut the fennel below the bulb at the soil line. The Florence variety, cultivated for centuries in Italy, is the only bulbing fennel. They give Italian dishes authenticity, add flavor to bread and chutneys. Even the seeds can be used if your plants have bolted. Otherwise, it is likely they will fall off the plant and be scattered by the wind. Each bulb will bear up to 30 flowers each year, and are ideal for the back of borders in pots, or make stunning cut flowers. Many gardeners are seeking a plump fennel bulb from their plants but not all fennels are created equal. Save on a bare-root collection of 12 agapanthus, six each of 'Queen of the Ocean' and 'Polar Ice'. Cut just above soil level and underneath the base with a sharp knife. Trimming the plant will create a bushier look, better for privacy screening. Florence fennel thrives in warm, sunny and moist conditions. Gardeners who grow fennel in a home garden have fennel leaves, fennel stems and fennel seeds to harvest throughout the summer. A short-lived perennial, fennel blooms best in its second year. Prepare a seedbed in fertile, well-drained soil, adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter the winter before planting. Stems, and an excellent addition to any garden are both used as herbs of this aromatic giant! 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