Love Apple Farms

    (831) 588-3801

Like our Page!

More Ways to Stay in Touch

Get your Mulch at:

« Pricking out Lettuces | Main | About Biodynamic Agriculture »

October 30, 2007


Love Apple Farms

Hi Terry. I don't know if that will grow another fennel plant or not, I've never tried it. But I do like to experiment in the garden. See what happens and let me know, won't you?

Terry Putnam

I came across this site tonight. Couldn't sleep. I enjoyed all of the various tips about fennel. I bought a fresh fennel bulb to put in salads. But I am trying a little experiment. I cut the top of the bulb and the leafy part off and planted it in my garden. It's the first week of June here in Sacramento, CA. Is there a chance that this will now develop roots and start a new plant? Just curious. T

Jen Hardiman

Hi! I love juicing Fennel bulbs, and I have had a heck of a time finding it in the store. Thanks a lot for this post! Looks like I am a few years late for the free seeds, but I wanted to express my appreciation for the great info, and for inspiring confidence in me to try to grow this stuff here in Middle Tennessee. Grazie!


Fennel...I love fennel and always buy it at the farmers market . I slice it on my mandoline thin ..toss it with arugula and freslly grated parmesean cheese. dressing is olive oil and meyer lemon juice from my tree> I love every class I have taken at Love apple farm AND WOULD love to grow my own fennel

Tim Quitter

My Fennel seems to grow just fine with long stalks and flavorful bulbs. Unfortunately, nearby plants don't do so well, which would seem to validate that fennel is a poor companion to most garden vegetables. I have tried to insulate by surrounding the fennel with some of its few good companions (sage and mint) but other plants still appear inhibited by proximity to the fennel. My garden and yard are of modest size and my options to grow the fennel elsewhere are limited. Also, I don't care for container grown plants. Have others experienced this? Any suggestions?


This is my first time growing fennel (in the Niagara Falls area). So far, it does not appear to be producing large bulbs. My brother-in-law (an Italian immigrant) says to mound the dirt around the base of the plant as it grows to encourage bulb development. Is anyone familiar with this technique?

Love Apple Farm

Sue: I've never lived in that sort of hard freeze area, but my best gardening instincts tell me that it would not survive the winter. Best to start fennel from seed in the spring and harvest it as it starts to bulb up in the summer and fall.


There have been several comments about planting fennel in autumn for the best bulbs. What about northern gardens, which get a (very) hard freeze? We can get below zero here in the winter...


Carmelized in a little butter with onion and served as a side is my favorite way to enjoy fennel. I also love adding potatoes after I've carmelized it with the onion, some potatoes, broth and caraway to make a soup.

Lisa Lofaro

My fennel plants seem to thrive on coffee grounds. Any thoughts on that? Are the grounds nitrogen-rich?

One absolutely delicious way to enjoy fennel is to simply clean and quarter the bulb, then soak it in ice water either for an hour or a day, it doesn't matter. This makes the fennel very crispy and refreshing. Eat it raw - straight out of the ice water.


I was told by a local central coast market farmer that fennel is NOT a reliable bulber when spring planted, but when summer planted for fall harvest, it will bulb every time. I have found this to be true, so plant fennel in spring to attract pollinator insects, and in summer for bulbs.

I also let my umbellacae plants like dill, cilantro, etc (flat-topped flower clusters) go to flower to attract beneficial (predatory) insects.


Thank you for such comprehensive information! I'm new to veg growing and there's always something you can't find in the books. Having success with fl fennel planted mid September here in Cornwall UK!


Oh my, oh my! I finally found a perfect web site for all of my gardening questions and concerns. Thank you:)


I am going to try and collect the seeds when I try and plant some fennel this year. Its my first attempt and I will use your suggestions

Carol O'Donnell

Whoops, Thinly sliced mushrooms across the cap into rounds.

Carol O'Donnell

I hear gophers LOVE fennel, it was the first thing they attacked in my new Canyon Garden. A gardener told me he uses fennel to lure gophers to the trap. Come to think of it, I guess I did too when I trapped the gopher in my fennel patch.
Alice Waters has a wonderful recipe much like Laura's above: Use a mandoline to shave slices of fennel onto a salad plate. Sprinkle with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. Cover with a layer of thinly sliced across the cap into rounds. Again sprinkle with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. Top with shaved parmesano.

Love Apple Farm

Melita: You can also use the bulb; that's the best part! Thinly sliced and added to soups and stews, or just stir-fried on their own or with other veggies. Good stuff!

Melita Israel

Had success with fennel growing then didn't know just what to do with them. The bulbs were huge. Looked up info in Joy of Cooking. Says use as for dill. Use both seed and leaves. Doesn't keep flavor when dried. Also used in place of celery. Foeniculium vulgare is used for seasoning. Florence fennel and common fennel can be used interchangeably. Can be used raw. I like the anise flavor used lightly with fish. PS my tomatoes are still porducing.

Laura K.

I tried fennel for the first time this year. I will DEFINATELY try the soil amendments you recommed as I had mixed results with my succesion plantings. I was most interested in the seed collecting segment as I never would have saved seed from the bolted plants (thinking I would not want to perpetuate that trait) had I not read it here. Thankyou!


I planted fennel seeds earlier this year. Lovely tall lacy plant; no bulbs. Very interested in learning about the "correct" way to grow it next time.


I just had a salad like this in Santa Cruz it is amazing.

Using a mandoline shave 2 fennel bulbs and 2 apples. Toss in 2 tbsp olive oil, juice of one lemon and salt (if too tart add a little honey). Top with pomegranate seeds. Using a vegetable peeler, shave some strips of pecorino and place delicately around each plate as you serve the salad.

Lauren McNitt

In Colorado, I have not been able to get Florence fennel to form bulbs. But I will try again, now that I have read your article. I do, however, get an enormous amount of pleasure from growing the ornamental bronze fennel. It is downright indestructable, once it is established, no matter how dry you keep it. I love everything about it - the smell, the lovely, lacey foliage as backdrop to almost anything in the perennial bed, and, most particlularly, I love the gorgeous black, white and yellow-striped caterpillars that decorate it every year. These caterpillers, which might be tiger swallow tail caterpillers, are like jewels in the garden, and I love how beautiful the bronze fennel is when decorated with many of them. I occasionally pick a small amount of the fennel to add to salad, but I have never been sure that this form is edible. Do you know? I would like to think so becasue under my very dry conditions this form is much easier to grow, and I am always interested in growing and eating more perennial vegetables.
Thank you for the beautiful site, and for all of the information.


I've never grown fennel before but I love the lacy look of this plant.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)