DAYS TO HARVEST
Start indoors ~4 weeks before last frost or direct seed ~1/4″ deep in mid-spring to late summer 10-12 seeds/ft, rows 18″ apart. Germination takes 10-14 days. Culture as a leaf crop.
Partial to full sun
Fennel is fairly tolerant to a wide range of pH and soil types. Good drainage is necessary.
Thin or transplant to 6″ between plants.
Annual: will frost kill
Cut at base of bulb when bulbs are at fist size. For seeds, allow plant to continue through bulbing and flowering stages (which local pollinators will love!) and let go to seed. Harvest seeds when turning brown and allow to dry on the plant or indoors before storing.
USES & COOKING SUGGESTIONS
Delicious raw, baked, steamed, or fried. We’ve gotten rave reviews from a friend who used this in a watermelon-fennel-mint salad. For this late summer salad, finely slice the fennel, chop and seed the watermelon in bite-sized pieces (we like the Cherokee Moon and Stars for this, but the Ali Baba would also do well–for a more colorful salad you can mix either of these red-fleshed watermelons with the lovely, sweet and crisp yellow fleshed Early Moonbeam), then chop plenty of mint and mix very gently. We like to use the apple mint that grows next to one of our seed gardens, but spearmint or peppermint can also be used. These have a much stronger flavors, so you’d use less. A very light sherry or white wine vinaigrette with a little honey in it complements this sweet and refreshing salad. A sprinkling of crumbled feta adds a lovely salty element to bring out all the other flavors. Garnish with fresh mint.