Is anyone growing fennel?


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I went out and bought fennel plants last year in an effort to salvage some parsley after the swallowtail butterflies started laying eggs on my plants. They chomped the plants almost down to nothing (and eradicated the dill) so I never saw and fennel bulbs.

Now I'm seeing what looks like new bulbs forming along the old "stalks" from last year. This suggests to me that fennel might be perennial.

What's your experience with this herb?
 
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I went out and bought fennel plants last year in an effort to salvage some parsley after the swallowtail butterflies started laying eggs on my plants. They chomped the plants almost down to nothing (and eradicated the dill) so I never saw and fennel bulbs.

Now I'm seeing what looks like new bulbs forming along the old "stalks" from last year. This suggests to me that fennel might be perennial.

What's your experience with this herb?
It probably is fennel, and dill and parsley------if they were able to go to seed.. before the so called "Good Guys" laid their eggs and became the death of your herbs that were going to go into your salad and spice jar.
 
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I am not a fan of fennel so I have never tried to grow it. I like the way it smells, but I am not fond of black licorice and it tastes like it to me. We used to have wild fennel where I grew up and it took me forever to figure out what it was.
 
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It probably is fennel, and dill and parsley------if they were able to go to seed.. before the so called "Good Guys" laid their eggs and became the death of your herbs that were going to go into your salad and spice jar.

You misunderstand. I had fennel plants for the caterpillars, they never had a chance to grow bulbs; now they are still going - they are apparently perennial and producing new bulbs.

I am not a fan of fennel so I have never tried to grow it. I like the way it smells, but I am not fond of black licorice and it tastes like it to me. We used to have wild fennel where I grew up and it took me forever to figure out what it was.

I wasn't a fan of it either. Last year I received a bulb in my CSA box from the farmer's market. I read that if you sauteed it the flavor was milder so I did that with onions and herbs and it was pretty good. I have a lot of plants because I didn't let the caterpillars eat them down to complete nubs the way I did with the dill.
 
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I guess the lack of additional responses means no one grows fennel. Not even you, @zigs?

I have healthy plants, one even went to seed, but no bulb formation. Then again, I mainly keep them for the butterflies.
 

zigs

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Missed this one.

Yep, grown it quite a bit. There's 2 types, the Florence Fennel which forms the bulbous stem bases or the herb Fennel, which is just grown for the foliage.

They make a root that looks a bit like a Parsnip and can come back year after year from that.

Always a challenge to get it to bulb up before the plant bolts, manage it sometimes :)
 
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Ah, I must have the herb one! That would explain so much, lol! The caterpillars chomp at it until it is almost a stump and then it grows back - that is, as long as I don't let them eat too much of it.

Next time I am at the nursery I am going to ask if they have the bulbing kind. I am going to be watching from now on to keep it from flowering and see what happens. I collected some seed from one of the larger plants as well already.
 

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Aah, yep, it's only the Florence Fennel that will blub up.

Make sure you plant the seed in situ and then thin out, they bolt if you transplant them or let them go short of water
 
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Hmmm, I've transplanted them - that is, the herb ones, from the starter pots at the nursery. Or is it just the bulb ones that don't transplant well? What does situ mean? Fortunately, The only time I have to worry about water is in summer. Once the weather starts to cool I can skip a day without the plants starting to wilt.
 

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Herb ones will be fine, all they want to is set seed.

In situ means where they are going to be grown, not transplanted :)
 
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I will have to try putting some in a pan with butter and see if I like it that way. I have just never liked black licorice and the smell reminds me of it.
 
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zigs

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I love Licorice and fully intend to eat my own weight of it one day :)
 
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LOL, @zigs, that is quite a bit of licorice!

@Rosyrain, I can't say I'm a fan of that flavor either, but having had fennel bulb cooked and finding it's not so intense that way, I wouldn't mind having it again. Now that Zigs has cleared up the difference for me, I'm not sure I'm in a rush to go out and get the bulbing kind for my garden, but I'm not completely opposed to eating it.
 
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It's been ages since i have seen that herb however i remember when i was much younger there was a lot of this herb in our garden i can remember my mom using it to make tea for my baby sister and claiming it was good for gripe.
 
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It's been ages since i have seen that herb however i remember when i was much younger there was a lot of this herb in our garden i can remember my mom using it to make tea for my baby sister and claiming it was good for gripe.

That's interesting, Kammy. I've read that tea from fennel seed is supposed to be good for certain female issues. I would have to find some way to counter the taste of the fennel to be able to have it in a tea though. It's a bit much for me; I don't care for anything in that anise family.
 

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