Growing Florence Fennel, also Finocchio

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  P P                  

(Best months for growing Florence Fennel in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: Thin to 6 inches
  • Harvest in 14-20 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Lettuce, Chicory, Cucumber, peas, sage
  • Avoid growing close to: Beans, tomatoes
  • A fennel seedling
  • Ready to use

This is a perennial grown as an annual as the stems become more fibrous with age. Both seeds and leaves have a mild aniseed flavour. With its feathery leaves it makes a good background plant in a border. Grows to approx 1.5m (5ft) Can be repeat sown throughout the year or left to self seed.

Fennel prefers well-drained fertile soil.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Florence Fennel

The swollen base of the stem is used.

Slice and steam/stir-fry the bulb, or use raw/grated in salads. Can be cooked and served with sauces or butter.

Your comments and tips

05 Apr 20, Joan (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Have lots of this growing wild on my place. The only recipe we tried with the bulb was a stir fry but we got put off because the flavor was too strong. Are there recipes to take the strong taste off it!? Thanks.
08 Jul 20, Frances (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I recommended sauteeing or roasting it slowly in butter or olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar - this caramelises it and makes it taste sweeter. You can add a dash of brown sugar too.
06 Apr 20, anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Try looking on the internet - Google it.
12 Sep 10, Jan Rawlinson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Does anyone have any tips/advice on germinating Florence Fennel? It grows really well in our region but germination seems a bit hit & miss whether I use a heat pad or not. Cheers...Jan
16 Apr 12, Mel Sperryn (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Fennel might need a period of cold to break its dormancy. try putting it in the refigerator for a while before germinationg it.

I recommended sauteeing or roasting it slowly in butter or olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar - this caramelises it and makes it taste sweeter. You can add a dash of brown sugar too.

- Frances

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