Foeniculum vulgare dulco
65 to 100 days — Fennel can be started indoors about six weeks prior to your last expected frost date or succession sown, directly into the garden from early spring into July for a nearly year-round supply of fresh bulbs. Once the plants have developed an egg-sized bulb at their bases, hill soil up around them to keep them blanched as they grow. Do not plant near dill
as they are in the same family and flavors can be affected.
Also known as Finocchio or vegetable fennel, the plants have a sweet, celery-like flavor with a hint of black licorice. It can be baked, boiled in soups, and also used raw, finely sliced into garden salads. For Italian-American family gatherings, fennel can often be found thinly sliced on veggie platters and used as a crispy palate cleanser. The young leaves and stalks can be harvested, as needed, for flavoring recipes.
Although both anise
and fennel possess a mild, black licorice flavor, they are not the same plant. This is a common confusion in America where vegetable fennel bulbs are sold in grocery stores as either anise
or fennel. All parts of the fennel plant can be used where only the seeds of anise
Fennel is hardy to about 20ºF, is a biennial or perennial in warmer zones (7 and higher), but is generally grown as an annual. Each packet contains 0.5 gram, which is approximately 70 seeds.