Species: Vulgare var. azoricum
OP-heirloom, Extra Early
65 to 100 days. Traditional Italian herb with a wonderful sweet anise taste, used for leaves and for white big, crisp, sweet tasty bulbs. This aromatic perennial is almost always grown as an annual. Grows to about five feet in height, having long, fine, dark green, feathery leaves, umbels of yellow flowers and big white bulbs up to 500gr. The whole plant has a flavour, leaves for fish dishes, stems and bulbs raw in salads or braised as a vegetable.Medicinal uses include antispasmodic, appetite stimulant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, relieving flatulence and bloating, as well as stimulating the flow of breast milk. Recent research has shown fennel seed extracts have proven to calm muscle spasms by reducing smooth muscle contractions. Other studies show that substances in fennel can reduce airway congestion by thinning and loosening phlegm, which supports the addition of fennel in numerous European cough remedies.
Sowing: April to May, Sow direct into the vegetable plot, sow seeds thinly along rows 2cm (3/4in) deep and 30-45cm (12-18in) between the rows. Fennel does not like root disturbance so should not be transplanted. Thin seedlings as soon as large enough to handle to 25-30cm (10-12in) apart. Water well until plants are established. As the swollen stems start to develop, gradually build earth up around them to preserve the whiteness and flavor.