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.