Fennel looks like a white bulb at the base with green stalks protruding from the top. Used a lot in Italian cuisines, fennel is crunchy with a bit of a sweet taste and can be found in other cultural recipes as well. Part of the Umbellifereae family it is in close relation to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander; however you should never follow these plants in a rotation or plant them near one another. Here are the steps to add fennel to your home vegetable garden.
Start by sowing your seeds indoors about 4 weeks prior to the final frost of the season. The seeds should germinate in about 14 days. For faster germination, consider using a portable greenhouse or humidity dome that is available at your local home or garden center for just a few bucks.
Once they are ready to be moved outdoors space them out no closer than twelve inches apart in the area of your garden that receives a lot of sunlight in soil that is in the pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. If you are not sure what your soil’s pH range is you can pick up a soil testing kit for a couple of dollars at your local home or garden center. Don’t forget to give your fennel a moderate watering, just enough to keep the ground moist, but not saturated.
They will be ready to harvest when the white bulb of the fennel plant is about 4 inches across and firm to the touch. Once harvested, the plant should be used within 48 hours to take advantage of the fresh flavors that fennel has to offer.
Avoid rotating fennel carrots, parsnips, and other members of the carrot family. Fennel does get along well with sage and mint so it will make a good companion plant for them, but that is about it. Try not to plant fennel anywhere near other plants as it does not get along well with them.
As you can see fennel is not all too difficult to add to your home vegetable garden. Just follow these steps and you will be well on your way to adding some great fennel to your cuisine straight from your home vegetable garden.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. You can follow Mike on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/mikethegardener or on his website at: AveragePersonGardening.com.
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