Today we are going to talk about this magnificent triple-use herbaceous plant: stems and leaves as an aromatic herb, seeds as a spice, and a bulb as a vegetable. In the face of such uses, we surrender to Apiácea from the Mediterranean area and we recommend it, through this article, its cultivation in your orchard or garden. Planting fennel in our garden is easy and we will tell you how.
We have said about the Mediterranean because that is where we can find it in the wild, although it is usually cultivated in many temperate areas of the world. It is normally cultivated for its contributions to gastronomy and as an aromatic one. As an ornamental it does not say much, but it does have use in gastronomy.
Its scientific name is Foeniculum vulgare and if it is allowed to grow it can reach 2 meters in height.
WILD FENNEL ( FOENICULUM VULGARE ) GROWING GUIDE
THE WEATHER IN FENNEL
Fennel can be grown successfully in mild climates and warm summers . The main problem with fennel is that it is very sensitive to frost , even when temperatures are not very low. If you live in a climate where this risk exists, you can grow fennel in the spring, away from the cold of winter, and harvest it in the summer or early fall.
As for the lighting it should receive, it is usually in sunny places, but you also have to be careful with exposure to the wind.
THE BEST SOIL CHARACTERISTICS
Fennel adapts quite well to any type of soil , think that in some areas of the Mediterranean it grows wild. The best thing, if you can choose or modify the structure of the soil, is a permeable, soft terrain with a good amount of organic matter.
THE SUBSCRIBER OF FOENICULUM VULGARE
As we have commented previously, receiving a good fertilizer is good advice for the best development of the crop. An example of organic matter can be decomposed manure , although any other with similar characteristics will do very well. In summer they advise using some type of mineral fertilizer (some of which we discussed in our article on the different types of fertilizers).
IDEAL SOWING DATE
If we want a summer or early autumn production, we must sow in the months of March, April and May , depending on the earliness we want in the crop. Depending on the temperature outside (May better than March) it can be sown in a seedbed or in the garden directly. Normally it takes about 6 weeks to transplant it , if we grow it in a seedbed or indoors.
When planting it, a planting space or frame of about 50 cm is usually left between rows and a distance between plants of the same row of 20 cm.
Especially in the first weeks of planting it is necessary to maintain constant watering in order that the soil is moist at all times. With fennel you have to be generous in the water as it needs moderate watering.
As Foeniculum vulgare needs good amounts of water, a tip to preserve soil moisture that will do very well for fennel is to mulch the ground . In the article on mulching we show you how.
FAVORABLE ASSOCIATIONS FOR GROWING WITH FENNEL
Positive associations with other plants: leek, carrot, strawberry, lettuce, onion, tomato and celery.
A tip for the cultivation of fennel is that when the pellet is forming we will have to huddle it . You can also make a double ridge 15 cm high to protect it from frost, wind and radiation.
In the different varieties that we can find of this crop, normally a very different flavor is not appreciated between them, but what varies is usually the size (more elongated or smaller), the sphere of the pella, etc.
- Carmo: it has a firm and smooth bulb and is white with a rounded shape.
- Pollux: it has the peculiarity of having a large white bulb.
- Florence fennel: it is also known as sweet fennel and its cultivation is increasing especially in the Levant area. It is usually grown in spring.
- Argo: it is a very early variety, with a tight, white and rounded bulb.
- Genius: this variety of fennel has a very rounded, firm and medium-sized bulb.
FENNEL MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Of course, fennel, being an aromatic plant, has medicinal properties . Its intake improves intestinal problems and whets the appetite. It is usually prepared in an infusion with 5-7 grams of fennel seeds.
It has also been shown to help fight cholesterol , since its components include ascorbic, oleic and linoleic acid. It also contains antioxidant properties due to its content of tryptophan, methionine and histidine, also taken as an infusion.
Fennel has diuretic properties , and is recommended as a natural product for people with fluid retention.