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Growing fennel bulbs...

This was the 2nd year trying to grow bulb fennel. The rain has suited because none of the plants have bolted, they look healthy but the bulbs  are still quite small,are they likely to get much bigger and when do you harvest.


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,413

    They need warmth and sun to grow fat.  I've been harvesting ours since July and have a few left to eat - from plugs planted in mid June and then mid July.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,212

    I checked them today, see what you mean about the bulbs growing fat, mine are very thin and flat looking although quite large. It's unlikely there'll be much sun and heat here in the NW now. I planted out plugs, I'd grown, July time and started off watering them but it rained nearly everyday over the summer, so stopped once I thought they'd rooted. I'm right in thinking they like lots of water? 

    I'm happy to try again next year as this years effort was better than the first year and we have had very little sun so weather permitting....I love the smell of fennel and taste but haven't yet tried a cooked bulb, might need to go out and buy one thenimage any suggestions as to how best to cook it.        

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,413

    I like it chopped raw in salads, chopped and added to roast Mediterranean veggies, baked with Parmesan.  Our favourite recipe is this one:-

    Baked Fennel with Goat's Cheese

     This quantity is for 4 as a vegetarian meal. It's also good with simply grilled pork, chicken or fish.

    4              bulbs of fennel

    30g          butter

    1              lemon, juice only

    4 tbs        water

    6              sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

    30g          pine nuts

    150g         goats' cheese log


    Heat the oven to 200C.   Trim the fennel and cut through the middle into 2 and then cut each half again 2 or 3 times to make wedges.   Place these in a shallow oven-proof dish.  Sprinkle on the lemon juice and water and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes.   Drain.


    Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle over the fennel, followed by the pine nuts and crumbled goats' cheese.   Drizzle with olive oil (from the tomatoes if you have some) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till the cheese is browned.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,212


    Sounds delish with goats cheese. Gives me some idea's, thank youimage 

  • We have grown fennel for the first time this year from well established seed stock and the builds are also small and not developed - do I leave them in the ground to see if they grow larger next year? I thought they were only an Annual?

    Also the seeds we have collected and dried smell 'Muddy' and no very fennel like when ground up for cooking what am I doing wrong?



  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,960

    I shan't bother any more, they all bolted for the second time, despite lots of watering. It's not because of lack of warmth because I live in Dordogne. They sell super fennel in the supermarket.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • ginagibbsginagibbs Posts: 756

    They are also nice roasted with other vegimage Never tried to grow them, will they tolerate clay soil?

  • how long can you leave in the ground

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