How/when to grown FENNEL?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I have not figure out when to grom FENNEL here in Dallas, TX.
Nobody seems to know much about this amazing vegetable.
This year I have started from seeds indoor in september and right now it look like this.
I know that Fennel like cold weather, but how cold?
Right now in Dallas we are having an amazing hot fall !! and today will be 80 F degrees since it is the first day of winter !!!
Will I need to cover it up?
Any help will be appreciated

Thumbnail by drthor
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

more

Thumbnail by drthor
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Are you trying for bulbs? I treat mine as a perennial, staying in ground year around. It shakes off frosts and freezes.

I need to divide the clump and wonder when the best time is to do so.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I am growing Fennel Fino which it will make the bulb.
I grew it last year with mix results. One things I know for sure is taht it doesn't like the heat.
Any help??

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I honestly don't know that I can offer help.
When you say mixed results, did some bulb and others not?

From my experience, it can endure hard freezes so I would definitely plant it out now if you haven't yet.

This message was edited Dec 23, 2010 7:09 AM

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I just had a few last year ... but I was just playing.
Let's see what happen.
Does anybody plant Fennel in the USA?
Fennel is an everyday vegetable in Italy.

Those are the only 2 fennels I did harvest this year in the spring.

Thumbnail by drthor
mobile, AL(Zone 8a)

I know I love fennel and tried planting it this year but the seedlings ended up dying on me, not sure when I have to plant it indoors and also transplant it outside, I have more fennel seeds so I am hoping to give it a try once again. One thing I am sure is it does not like hot weather or it will bolt quick and not form the wonderful bulbs.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

My FENNEL is growing very slow.
I had to cover it a couple of night ago because of the freeze. I don't think it likes the really cold weather.
So far so good.
I will let you know how and when I will harvest it.

Thumbnail by drthor
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Here it is my ONLY fennel of this season.
Most of my plants died during the Super Bawl storm in February.
Only one survived.

I still don't know when it will be the best time to start the fennel from seeds. Any suggestion will be appraciated.
Next year I will start the seeds in December at the same time of my tomatoes.

Thumbnail by drthor
So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Well, your singular fennel looks great!

I started seeds a week ago and it looks like there might be 2 trying to sprout. I have a second kind to start but want to space them.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Have you grown the Fennel from seeds before?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Not me.

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

I have fennel seeds (Orion, from Burpee) and am trying to surf for more about it. All I can seem to find is that the rest of the garden plants hate it and supposedly it is to be planted off by itself...

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

jab, I had not read that, but will look into it. I have about 6 that have sprouted now... whispery filaments like one strand of a spider web. I don't remember EVER seeing such fine/thin seedlings

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I have tried fennel many times and never been able to get it to bulb so you are doing great Drthor. I can only tell you what I understand about this amazing veggie which we too love. It needs a very long and slow growing season more like up north in late Summer/Fall and early Winter. If you grow it in Spring in the South it will make fronds but no bulbs. If you grow it in the Fall/Winter in the South it needs moisture and consistent cool weather. The problem with fennel is it needs a long time to mature and consistently cool weather long enough to mature the bulbs. So, that's why it grows well in much of Italy. There you have winters that are moderately cool, getting not too much warmer or colder for months.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I've tried fennel too, and haven't gotten much out of it. I plant it in the spring and then it turns hot around here. The most I've managed are very small bulbs, but at least I can use the fronds to some extent.

It does begin as very delicate, wispy fronds.

I too have heard that other vegetables don't do well growing near it, but I've never seen an impact in my garden.

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

greenhouse_gal do you by chance remember what you planted your fennel next to ?

silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)

http://www.ourherbgarden.com/fennel-companions.php

The biggest problem with fennel appears to be that its alleopathic. It produces a growth inhibitor that affects nearly all plants. I'd just put it in a small bed by itself.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I planted it next to some spring greens last year. This year I planted it in a row with leeks. We shall see. The leeks are starting to show already, but so far no fennel.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

The allelopathic qualities of fennel do not influence whether fennel bulbs or not (which was the topic). Many plants have varying degrees of allelopathy...okra and sunflowers for example. It's possible to obtain lists of allelopathic plants and degrees of allelopathy online.

I have started fennel in ground but think our soil is not favorable to rapid, early growth so now I start fennel in soiless mix and in paper cups for easy transplant. It does not like to transplant so the rather large plants available in garden departments baffles me. From my understanding, transplanting itself can prevent bulbing. I transplant when the seedlings are very young and try not to let them over-grow their cups or disturb the roots. I've got no problem growing it, just getting it to bulb. As an aside here, there is bulbing fennel (an annual) and non-bulbing, perennial fennel of several types, including bronze fennel. Non-bulbing, perennial fennel is considered a noxious weed in several states because it messes with commercial fennel growing though seed and plants are available.

silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Maypop

I was refering to JAB's remark " All I can seem to find is that the rest of the garden plants hate it and supposedly it is to be planted off by itself... "

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Hmmm... well, I guess I can cross off fennel from my: "I-wonder-if-I-can-grow-that" list.

I've never eaten fennel, but I do use freshly ground seeds when fixing pork tenderloin.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I must learn how to grwo fennel.
I LOVE it so much !

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

One of my son's customers asked him if he wanted some a year or so ago and he called me to ask if I knew what to do with it. I told him I'd figure something out and I found a great recipe for fennel with beans and sausage, which has become a favorite. That's why I've tried to grow it. I hope I have better luck this year, but it's good to know that I'm not the only one whose fennel doesn't bulb up!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I love fennel bulbs every which way, including raw, but especially roasted with a bit of fresh garlic and olive oil and a sprinkle of good fresh Parmesan cheese (not the stuff in the can). I serve it frequently on salads, as part of antipasti platters with olives, or pan sauteed and then tossed with other vegetables such as squashes or green beans. I roast and bake fish on and under saved fronds and stalks and also use the fronds in salads including slaws, egg salads and potato salads. It makes so many foods come alive.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Those sound like great ideas, Laurel!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I have two fennel plants one with a large bulb and one a bit smaller. I have only grown them for the butterflies; never cooked one, but sounds good. My question is ...if I leave it in the ground will the plants die? Or, if I cut it at ground level will it come back next year?

Thumbnail by Sheila_FW
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't know if the plant will come back completly ... some time when I cut the bulb out some new ones will grow ,,, but I think Fennel doesn't like the heat, especially ours
The bulb on the left is ready to harvest. Both bulbs want to bolt.
You can see the bulb on the right didn' really form.
When did you start them from seeds?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I leave mine in ground as a perennial. It has been through three winters and does not die down. I shouldn't think you would even have to cut it back. It is pretty when frosty...

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

podster, are you talking abot the fennel that makes the bulb, or just the fennel that has leaves?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm sorry, I don't know which cultivar I planted but it does have bulbs. They are small though and I suspect it is due to growing conditions. They are planted in compacted soil, in afternoon/evening sun and suffering from drought. The bulbs have not been damaged by freezing temperatures and the plant seems to enjoy the cold weather.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

podster, you may just have the leaves fennel and I agree with you that it could be a perennial.
The "bulb" fennel is a variety grown but the enlarged stem.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Is the bulb fennel is not cold hardy?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

one of 20 I planted survived out winter ... but last winter was very cold.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

What time of year did you plant them? Did you mulch them?

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

There is fennel, the herb (Fennel vulgare) and then there is Florence fennel, or finocchio (Fennel vulgare azoricum) which is related and produces those bulbs. The bulbing ones need a very long, steady cool season with lots of water. They grow best in climates like in the Mediterranean that have less seasonal variation and cooler summers. I think they are planted in Fall or Winter there. Generally we get too cold to produce a reliable crop from a Fall planting and Spring weather is too short. I'm just guessing here but maybe northern California would be best for fennel.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I planted some fennel in March and it's starting to bulb up a little here and there. If it does it will be a first. It's very hot here now, so it may just give up.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

The green bulb fennel I have, is some planted last fall and it went through the winter being mulched.
I have a bronze fennel that doesn't make bulbs and it is a monster by the end of the season if the butterflies don't use it for host. I tried to move it last year and gave up it was too deep in the ground.

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

I planted fennel seed several weeks ago but so far am not seeing any signs of life. We have just come out of a cold spell but the directions I had were direct sow early spring. I planted Orion seed which is suppose to be a compact plant. Its in a small patch all by itself since there was so much dispute on what it could be near.

We only just put the tomatoes out yesterday in the garden as the nights are finally in the 50's .

I am thinking of trying again =0/

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Fennel can take a while to show up. You can try again but you might be surprised with more than you expected!

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