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(21 Posts)
didireallysaythat Tue 03-May-16 21:22:14

I've just acquired a fennel - about 30cm tall, strong looking plant. Do I pop it in the ground, leave it alone and then dig it up and harvest later in the year or can they be perennials ?

EBearhug Tue 03-May-16 21:29:23

Depends on the type you have. They don't all grow bulbs. Fennel can grow to about 1m 50 tall, and can be generous in its self-seeding when it likes the conditions. (My mother loved the single bronze fennel I once planted, I am sure...) It is a lovely plant. It doesn't matter that it's perennial, given how it likes spreading it's seed (it is, though.)

EBearhug Tue 03-May-16 21:30:49

I mean, none of them grow bulbs, but they don't all get a bulbous root swelling like you use as a vegetable.

didireallysaythat Tue 03-May-16 21:46:34

Thanks Ebear - don't suppose you know how to tell what type I have smile ?

EBearhug Tue 03-May-16 21:55:08

Wait and see? smile

I'm not sure - I'm not keen on it as a vegetable, so I've never paid that much attention to the root. It looks lovely when it's all young and fluffy leafs, and the flower heads are pretty - and insects love it.

JapanNextYear Tue 03-May-16 22:08:41

Basically as above, wait and see. It's a tricky veg to grow if it is bulb fennel, but you'll just gett one and it'll only be a foot high and the stem will bulge. If it's herb fennel it'll keep on growing, get about a metre high or taller, die down in the winter and then spring back twice the size. V pretty but seeds everywhere.

shovetheholly Tue 03-May-16 22:40:18

Because of the time of year, it's likely to be the leafy kind not the bulb. This means it's perennial, but you only enjoy the foliage and use that in cooking. Bulb fennel is normally sown later because it bolts.

DoreenLethal Tue 03-May-16 22:43:13

If it doesnt bulb, just leave it to grow and you will have a green fennel that is also a perennial and you can pick the leaves to add fennel taste to your food, and the fennel seeds that can also be used in cooking.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 03-May-16 22:48:15

Bronze fennel is tall and feathery and smells gorgeous and the seeds are nice to munch.

It is also a complete thug that will self seed everywhere and form huge, indestructible clumps. Oh yeah, and flies love the flowers.

shovetheholly Wed 04-May-16 06:47:46

Apparently, fennel pollen is the new trendy thing. You harvest wild fennel flower heads, turn them upside down in a bag and wait for them to dry. Then use as a flavour enhancer. If it tastes crap, I blame James Wong. grin

EBearhug Wed 04-May-16 07:38:08

Fennel pollen? As a hayfever sufferer, I can't help feeling sceptical at the thought of that.

didireallysaythat Wed 04-May-16 08:15:47

This is the beast. Probably not in it's final resting place, but the offer caught me on the hop while making supper...

Gatekeeper Wed 04-May-16 08:19:55

looks like bog standard herby fennel to me; I am also peering at the plants next to it but I can't quite see this your garden? You look like you have an invasion of ground elder there. Eyesight is tripe today though and I am peering at the pic all squinty like

didireallysaythat Wed 04-May-16 08:51:14

Gatekeeper it isn't a great photo. It's my middle raised bed in the garden - the elder like things are actually autumn raspberries and there's a rhubarb to the right.

shovetheholly Wed 04-May-16 14:22:10

Yep, looks like Foeniculum vulgare, plain ole herby fennel, rather than Florence fennel, which is the stuff where you eat the bulb.

Good news is, this is the kind you can get pollen from... well, it's called 'pollen' but it's really just dried flower bits. Apparently it is the spice of the angels. You'd have to be bloody celestially rich to afford it... look how much it costs on souschef!

shovetheholly Wed 04-May-16 14:22:42

I am SO doing a big ole stand of this when I get my 2nd allotment.

JapanNextYear Wed 04-May-16 15:07:02

I planted a bronze fennel on my allotment - which I love - but now have lots of bronze fennel and an allotment neighbour who points out the seedlings on his patch with a pained expression.

DoreenLethal Wed 04-May-16 16:20:41

If it tastes crap, I blame James Wong.

I blame James Wong for lots of garden misunderstandings. Cucamelon - fuck off it is Melothrie.

slavojzizekstshirt Wed 04-May-16 16:33:10

grin grin Doreen I am never going to be able to hear the word 'cucamelon' without mentally adding 'fuck off it is Melothrie' now.

japan - show him the souschef page and tell him you're making his fortune!

didireallysaythat Wed 04-May-16 18:10:38

Brilliant - thanks everyone. So I should move it otherwise all three beds will end up riddled with the stuff, but if I forget I'll be able to retire on the proceeds of the pollen. Do people really pay that much for dried flower heads ?

DoreenLethal Thu 05-May-16 07:33:16

I cringe every single time I hear Cucafuckingmelon.

Did - one of the gardens near us grown courgettes just for the flowers, and sells them to restaurants for £1 each. They actually just want the male flowers so all fruits get taken off.

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