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Organic Fennel - Growing Information


Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a hardy annual in the Umbelliferae family, which includes parsnip, carrot, dill, chervil, coriander, parsley, skirret and celery.

  • Bulbing-types produce large sweet bulbs.
  • Non-bulbing (leaf) fennel is grown as an herb or for seed and the attractive, feathery leaves.

Soil and Nutrient Requirements

Fennel needs deep, well drained, moderately fertile soil with a pH from 6.1-8.0. It has a very deep taproot.

Position

Full Sun

Seeding Depth

1/4-1/2

Plant Spacing

 Direct seed at 2 and thin to 6-8"

Row Spacing

18

When to Sow

Direct seed fennel mid-spring through late summer, or start transplants 4-5 weeks before planting date. Plant outdoors after danger of hard frost has passed. Bolting can result from disturbing the roots.

Frost Tolerant

Yes

Drought Tolerant

Yes.

Heat Tolerant

No

Seed Specs

7M seeds/oz avg. M=1,000

Seeding Rate

400 plants/100 double row using 6 plant spacing; 58,100 plants/acre, using 6 plant spacing, 18 row spacing.

Harvest

 Harvest bulbs at 3-4 in diameter.

Storage

Fennel is delicate and will dry out quickly in storage. Store in cooler as close to freezing as possible. Quality will keep for 3-4 days.

Pest Info

  • Aphids, whitefly and lepidopterous larvae can be controlled by floating row cover in areas where they are a problem.

Disease Info

  • Fungal leaf blights caused by Alternaria dauci or Cercospora carotae can cause severe defoliation and greatly reduce yields. Generally, cercospora blight appears earlier in the season than alternaria blight. Both these fungi are seed-borne but can also be spread by crop residue from previous years.
  • White mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) manifests as a cottony white mycelium around roots and lower plant parts, usually late in the season. Avoid planting in areas which are shady or have poor drainage, practice crop rotations with non-vegetable crops.

Seed Saving Instructions

Insect pollinated annual. Varieties should be isolated by mile. When umbels are dry they may be harvested from the plant. Seeds will retain 50% germination for four years.

 




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