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Fennel is wonderful. I have never grown it. I am hoping to try it this year but have been told that it is tricky and likes lots of water or it comes out tough.

I am much more experienced at eating it - and therefore cooking it. A couple of things I love to do: bake a sea bass on a bed of the stuff. Also good if you mix the fennel with cherry tomatoes and lemon rind cut off the lemon in strips. Drench the fish and the vegetables with olive oil and shove it into a hot oven until done. Second thing is a salad from the Casa Moro recipe book. Simply put it's fennel with oranges and potatoes. I seem to remember the fennel was raw, the potatoes warm and there may be some red onions cut up fine somewhere in there. I've done just the fennel and oranges in a vinaigrette as a salad and that is lovely too.


I don't care for the aniseed taste myself but my husband likes it.
We did well last year but I'm sure that was all down to the huge amounts of rain we had. Every other year the crop has bolted long before the bulbs were any size. I think lots of water is the key. Good luck.


Sowed a few a week ago. I'm growing them more as an ornamental, as I think I will not like the aniseed flavour.
No sproutig until now

Magic Cochin

One of the highlights of our holiday in Northern Italy the other year was lake trout served with braised fennel - so meltingly delicious. I bought seeds from a local market and vowed to grow them the following year - which was 2007 the wettest most miserable gardening year for ages!!! The fennel seeds got of to a great start in the sun and warmth of April then it all went a bit lank and sad and most went to seed. The best 3 or 4 flattened egg-sized bulbs were tasty.
I'll try again, plant in a warmer spot and thin to about a foot apart (using the thinnings as a herb flavouring). Here's to a sunnier 2008!



Yes, I've grown it. It was not at all difficult and the flavour was good. It also looked spectacular in the flower patch.

Liz Postlethwaite

I had my first success with it last year. It's tricky but worth the effort as it tastes even better homegrown. My tip is to plant after the longest day as it's very sensitive to shortening days and has more chance of bolting if planted earlier - I always start it off in the greenhouse as well to give it the best start. It likes a nice rich soil and hates drying out so plenty of water in a hot summer. Good luck!


I have grown it and found it quite easy for a beginner to grow. It is not so much hassle as celery, which it resembles.....no earthing up etc.
It looks really good in the garden too. Give it a go....

miss hathorn

I've grown it a few times - mostly successfully. Once it bolted when we had a sudden cold patch, but I always wait until the longest day to sow the seeds.


I haven't tried growing it yet either, but if you're into companion planting I've heard NOTHING likes to grow near it! So you might want to think carefully about where you put it.
Cookingwise, try frying it along with cubed salmon fillet, mix with pasta and sprinkle with pine nuts. Mmmmm.


Florence fennel unfortunately tends not to develop a large bulb in our climate. That is about the only bad thing about growing them - they always taste great regardless of how big they manage to grow.

This is one vegetable/herb that I prefer raw - quite the reverse to you I think. Though I have been trying to talk myself into trying them cooked...

john curtin

Well thank you all for that information on florence fennel. I'll certainly give it a go and wait until the longest day has passed to plant it.

Monique Stern

Use fennel cooked in with mussels! sooo yummy. Saute onions and garlic and then add the fennel cook covered for a few minutes before adding the mussels and covering with white wine... Serve with lots and lots of parsley. and perhaps some cream.


In Italy I think they sow it around July-August and harvest Dec-Jan. It is a little tricky only because it will bolt if checked and it is checked if it suffers from too little water, too much heat, too much cold.
It likes to grow fast and warm so after mid-summer for a uk climate should work a treat. Re companions it is ok with beetroot.

John Curtin


Thanks for that advice. I think it will be touch and go but worth a try.

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