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Growing Fennel for Seed

Growing green fennel herb…

In a summer of mild horticultural discontent for this kitchen gardener my fennel plants have been a true salvation-thus far!! I say that because last year I predicted a good harvest of plump seeds from my plants only to find them wither and die long before the seed heads had developed.

Not so, it would seem this year. Standing quite graciously at some seven feet tall the heads are developing nicely and, green digits crossed they will produce enough seeds to keep me going through the winter.
I tend to bang on about fresh fennel seeds but I make no apology, anyone who has crushed a freshly dried pod will understand. Anything shop bought thereafter will be a disapointment I guarantee it.

What I have done is quite simply let them grow, I shall cut the plants back later in the year but all season they have been left to grow and cover a section of trellice and act as a background for the rest of the herb garden. There is something quite regal about fennel plants; in winter when the morning dew lays upon them they really do look very special indeed.

6 Comments

  1. V says:

    Great photo

    Apologies for being a bit dim about veg gardening but do you grow them just for fennel seeds or do you use the vegetable fennel that comes off them too ?

    I love the fennel that comes in my veg box. Our local Italian restaurant does mashed fennel and carrot with fennel seeds on top and I have to make sure I serve myself first as my husband may very likely eat the entire dish of it. :)

    July 6, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

  2. miles says:

    V,
    That is ‘bulb’ or ‘Florence’ fennel, this is the herb which also comes in a fetching brown called bronze fennel, more ‘willowy’ it isn’t as good as this variety. It’s the seed heads these plants produce that make them so good. I do use the stems as a flavouring agent for cooking meat and fish though. The bushy part can be chopped and used as per dill.

    July 6, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

  3. v says:

    Ah I see . TY .

    ( Brill. this is like having my own personal cooking tutor )

    July 6, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

  4. Sam L says:

    Interesting Miles. I’ve never grown Fennel but one of my pea plants just died and Fennel plant popped up in it’s place!

    I think I will keep it. Have you ever tasted the seeds fresh? I wonder if they pack as much punch as coriander…?

    S.

    July 7, 2014 @ 9:16 am

  5. miles says:

    Sam,
    Weird!! Keep hold of it mate, in terms of packing a punch I would say that a fresh fennel seed is comparable to coriander. The colour difference between fresh and old dried is up there alongside fresh turmeric and ground turmeric in my book.
    Well worth it.

    July 7, 2014 @ 9:56 am

  6. Sam L says:

    I will. I’m all for freshly dried herbs and spices. It makes a huge difference.

    S.

    July 7, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

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