Wednesday 21 March 2018

Week 57: Grow it yourself diary

Florence fennel is grown for its aniseed-flavoured swollen bulb – it's an acquired taste and won't suit everyone, and it's also a little difficult to grow well.

On the other hand, it's an incredibly attractive plant that will look fantastic in your veggie patch while growing.

It's worth noting that Florence fennel is a different plant to herb fennel, though the leaves of Florence fennel can be eaten in salads.

Florence fennel is frost tender so it makes sense to wait until now in early June to sow.

Mark out lines and make a shallow drill 1cm deep.

Water if dry and sow seed thinly in rows 45cm apart.

Thin to 30cm when they have established.

You can also sow Florence fennel in module trays if you wish – sow two seeds per module and thin out the weakest one when they germinate.

Plant out after four-five weeks.

Keep well watered in dry weather (dry soil encourages bolting) and weed regularly.

You can earth up the bulbs as they start to swell to make them whiter and sweeter.

Harvest when the bulbs are 7cm across.

Irish Independent

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