We’re refining our planting list, and took a closer look at which of the various fennel varieties best suit our needs. Of the three fennel we planted this year (left to right): Orion had the plumpest bulbs, Finale had the most flavor, and Perfection was quick to bolt. We’ve grown these three before and, judging by our notes, with fairly consistent results through different years.
Growing fennel can be tricky, with bolting a common problem. They require light, fertile soil, and proper spacing. As we recently learned, planted too close and they’ll bolt. Another way of preventing bolting may be to choose one of the Alpine varieties, which are sown from June to August, and grown into cold. To harvest fennel, we cut them at the base of the bulb, resulting in a second and or even third growth. Above: Baby fennel resprouting from a taproot left in the ground.
Herb fennel differs from the bulb variety, and we grown it specifically for their more fully-flavored leafy fronds. As the season progresses, we also cook with the pollen, green seeds, and then dried. Bronze fennel, above, unfurling in the herb garden, and, below, their pollen-rich umbels.
Harvesting this week: Fennel, filet green beans, Shishito peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, kale, chard, and salad greens.
Hi there, I just wanted to let you know that I think your blog is great, so I nominated it for a Liebster Award.
Thanks for doing what you do.
Thank-you, Lara, I feel so very honored! It is a joy to be able to share some of these pleasures with you all.
Sorry for my ignorance, what is bolting?
It means that the plant is uprooting itself and running away! :-D
Actually, it means that the plants head ‘quickly’ or ‘bolt’ from a growth state to a flowering/seed producing state. A bolted plant can impact the flavor of the rest of the plant.
I like the first explanation!
So, which varieties have you decided to continue to grow? Do you love green fennel seed? It’s so much tastier than dried, but even dried it’s much more flavorful than anything you can buy.
Probably winnow it down to Finale, though I like the idea of trying out an Alpine variety. The Orion was beautiful, but tasteless compared to the Finale, and the Perfection was too prone to bolting. Love green fennel seed, reminds me of Good & Plenty candy!
Will you continue to grow all the varieties or are you narrowing down to just 1 or 2?
Will probably narrow it down to Finale, which is the most flavorful of the three. We’ve grown these through enough seasons to find it’s not a fluke of weather or condition.