First, cut each seed head off of the fennel plant. When to harvest fennel bulbs involves a little more, but before we talk about the how and the when, let’s make sure we’re talking about the right fennel. Your email address will not be published. Only take a few leaves at a time to not cause harm to the plant. However, if you want to talk about harvesting fennel bulbs for your table, you must plant Florence fennel, a variety of Foeniculum vulgare called Azoricum. Don’t discard the greenery! When the time is right, grab a paper bag and some scissors. Cutworms will attack plants and then the stems of the young seedlings, or plants that have been recently transplanted, may become severed at the soil line. Harvesting fennel bulbs straight from your garden can be a treat for you, too. This will release seeds into the bags. Go out and find some fennel. Herb Fennel. The seeds and leaves can be used in a variety of recipes, including flavoring for Italian sausage, and the leaf stalks make a different and wonderful vegetable dish. They are shaped like umbrellas and have one central shoot; so one snip should remove the entire head. Fennel seeds pack huge flavor. They create discoloration of the leaves, necrotic spots and stunted growth. Fennel seeds are a delicious addition to homemade tomato sauces, make a lovely warming tea, and are a perfect complement to a variety of spice mixes. Using shears, snip whole seed heads off of the plant into the paper bag. Also, utilize crop rotation. Wait until at least August, and September is better. Continue to harvest leaves as needed throughout the season. Standard garden offerings such as squash, celery and mustard greens produce often-overlooked edible seeds that could add nutritious and flavorful value to our plates. Scatter the fennel seeds on a cooking tray. Different plants are susceptible to different types of pests and diseases, and it is important to make yourself aware so you can keep a watchful eye and also take any preventative methods to keep your plants safe throughout their lifespan. When to Harvest. This is the only variety to plant if your goal is harvesting fennel bulbs. As soon as the plant is well established and growing leaves you can begin harvesting them. Once the bulb begins to develop, blanch the bulb by hilling soil around it to protect it from the sun. Your email address is invalid. Each part of the fennel plant, including the seed, carries with it a licorice flavor, and I find that people either love that flavor or want absolutely nothing to do with it. How and when do I harvest my bulb fennel? Fennel is a diverse herb that is used around the world. Not only do you get a culinary spice from harvesting fennel seed, but the seed can be planted in next years garden. Fennel is an herb that grows freely in gardens throughout the USDA hardiness zones 5-10. The flower umbels (the umbrella-like flower clusters) are both beautiful and tasty as an edible garnish in food and drinks. To prevent this, be sure not to plant the fennel too close together to allow for good air circulation. You can even chew on a seed to freshen breath. in length but no more than 7 cm (3 inches), about the size of a tennis ball. The seeds can then be stored in an airtight jar for up to one year. The Florence variety, cultivated for centuries in Italy, is the only bulbing fennel. Please enter a valid address. Fennel bulbs take about 12 to 14 weeks from seed to harvest and depend on cool weather for bulb development. Use a piece of parchment paper so the seeds don’t touch the metal and burn. All rights reserved, Article from Edible Capital District at https://ediblecapitaldistrict.ediblecommunities.com/recipes/save-your-fennel-seeds. If the seeds don’t seem completely dried out, lay them out in a single layer on a cloth for a few days or put them in a dehydrator set on low for a few hours. Remember, your bulb will begin to lose flavor as soon as it is cut so use it as quickly as possible. Sweet fennel stalks, with their hollow centers, make for innovative and flavorful “straws” for use in … Leave any dirt or bits of dried flowers that remain. Clean your fennel bulbs with water, and if possible, use them right away while the flavor is most potent. Is there anything more impressive than a seed? You’ve just learned how to harvest fennel bulbs! Every part of the fennel plant can be eaten, but the seeds are particularly good. Ta-da! Harvested fennel seeds can also be saved and replanted, bringing with them another bountiful year full of bulbs, fronds, flowers and seeds for your culinary enjoyment. Be sure to plant the fennel in soil that drains well, and apply a fungicide. To treat, plant tolerant species and avoid too much fertilizing. Keep the bottom of the bulb in the soil so its roots remain, and it will begin to produce more growth. Above: Clip the top of the stalks with the flower heads and place them on a tray in a dark place to dry. Do not remove more than one-third of the vegetative growth to ensure the plant will continue to grow. Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with overlapping layers similar to cabbage and long fronds resembling dill. Your Florence fennel bulbs will be ready to harvest in about 14 weeks. Cutting off the flower heads will encourage more leaf growth. In my kitchen I add fennel seeds into a Northeastern take on that classic French herb mix, herbes de Provence, by combining dried lavender, oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage with dried fennel seeds. Fennel is also one of those marvelous plants that provide us with an edible part at every stage of growth, including its last gift to the harvest season: the fennel seed. Leave them there for a few days, then shake the heads. They give Italian dishes authenticity, add flavor to bread and chutneys. Learning Download: Common pests and diseases: Fennel. As a longtime seed enthusiast, it’s easy for me to get hyperbolic when talking about the genius held within these sometimes miniscule, sometimes massive vessels. Now that you know when to harvest fennel, let’s talk about how to harvest fennel bulbs. The bulb can be grilled until tender, or sliced thin for use in slaws and salads. Fruit will show shallow, dry wounds. Otherwise, it is likely they will fall off the plant and be scattered by the wind. Each part of the fennel plant, including the seed, carries with it a licorice flavor, and I find that people either love that flavor or want absolutely nothing to do with it. For optimal freshness, the seeds should be harvested just as the flowers are beginning to dry out and turn brown. The plant may then be stunted, and the stems can become distorted or bend. GrowThis.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. To harvest, you can cut the bulb at its base, right where it meets the soil. I have many favorites among the edible seed-producing herbs and vegetables that grow in my northern region, and high on that list sits the versatile, beautiful and sometimes divisive plant—fennel. Aphids, the armyworm and cutworms can be pests that wreak havoc on the fennel plants. You can find fennel seeds at Urban Farmer. The fronds can be used in salads, but the vegetable is often grown for its bulb, which produces a crunchy texture with a taste similar to licorice. And finally, at the close of the season, perched at the end of the drying-out flower stalks, we find the fennel seed. After shoots appear, water frequently so the bulb doesn’t dry out. Herb fennel will naturally begin to flower more toward the end of the season. Sautéed fennel stalks are wonderful as part of a vegetable medley. If your soil is loose, you can use your hands. If you need further assistance, we're always available to help. Fennel seeds should be kept in an airtight container and then stored in a cool, dark place. If you can’t use the bulbs immediately, store them in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once all fennel seeds have come loose, separate them from the stems and other plant matter. But in our home gardens, where we aren’t frequently growing the grain and beans that make up the bulk of our meals, edible seeds often go ignored in respect to their culinary potential. Wait any longer, and they can become tough. If the weather becomes unseasonably warm, all fennel, including finocchio, will bolt, which means it will produce flowers too soon and the bulb won’t form. If not, use a small garden trowel but try not to nick the bulb. Seeds have seriously figured it out. Birds, especially little warblers, love to eat fennel seeds. The second flush of stems and leaves will extend the flavorful harvest. Fennel seeds should be harvested as soon as they turn from green to brown on the stalk. The fronds can be used in salads, but the vegetable is often grown for its bulb, which produces a crunchy texture with a taste similar to licorice. When conditions are right, when to harvest fennel bulbs depends solely on their size. This will ensure they keep their flavor for months to come. Harvesting fennel bulbs. Required fields are marked *. (Hint: The right recipe often involves caramelization.). Sow them 1/4 inch deep and 12 inches apart in rows set 3 feet apart. Grass seeds and legume seeds are particularly prolific staples of diets all around the world, with corn, wheat, rice and beans serving as the caloric foundation for countless cultures throughout the course of human history.