Not a full fennel failure.

fennel fluff 9-27-14My fennel experiment has taught me some things. If I had found Barbara Pleasant’s page on How to Grow Bulb Fennel much earlier than I did, I might have got a crop. She gets two crops every summer!

I think my effort failed for three reasons:

1) I planted too late. It would be better to set out seedlings when I had planted mere seeds.

2) My spot lacked sun. It was next to a fence that prevented the plants from getting sun before late morning, and then the zucchini plants nearby grew up and provided more unwanted shade.

3) I didn’t give the plants extra nitrogen when they began “to bulb.” Barbara says thafennel stems 9-27-14t is an important step to help them grow good-sized bulbs.

Barbara says that it took her three seasons to learn how to grow a successful crop, so that is a comfort. I intend to try again. But even if I didn’t have hope for the future, this summer’s crop is so pretty, I’m enjoying it as an ornamental. I’ll keep watching for the seeds to develop, and maybe I’ll be able to gather enough for my next fennel experiment.

fennel flower 9-27-14

10 thoughts on “Not a full fennel failure.

  1. I like learning new things about plants and I can tell you do, too. I liked my dill and then before I was quite finished pickling, it was finished producing. Oh well! I have heard that once you plant dill from seed, you have an overabundance forever!


  2. Isn’t it amazing how beautifully the fennel grows wild along the creek walk there from my apartment to the performing arts center. I had to move into the heart of a stand, always suspect of a dogs raised leg. Of course the larger bulbs were woodier than the garden v ariety .One of the loveliest of plants, and great for your breath


    1. Luna, I have often nibbled on the newest fronds of the wild fennel that is so rampant here, but I never thought of trying to collect its bulbish parts. Did you actually find something to cook with there? I might go look tomorrow!


  3. I really need to try and plant fennel again. I did all of those things that you did too. I did get the fern but never a bulb.
    Those apples are Tehachapi apples. The little apples they grow up there this time of year. I am already though my first box. I will need to go up and get another one. 🙂


    1. In the 60’s my father started going up to Springville every fall to get boxes of Golden Delicious that were The Best – well, they were the best I’d ever had, probably my introduction to really fresh and sweet and crisp apples that came direct from the farmer.


  4. What was it that I learned earlier this summer? It was a great quote–something along the lines of, You have to kill a plant three times before you understand it. That has been true in my experience. Also true: Barbara Pleasant is a great gardening teacher!



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