Name:
*Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Description:
*There are both annual and perennial types
*Can reach 5 feet tall
*Aniseed-type taste

Parts Used:
*Leaves, flowers, seeds, stems, roots (all parts edible)

Position:
*light, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil
*sunny position
*tolerates cold
*avoid clay soil

Propagation:
*All varieties work best if sown directly in the soil in the spring
*Division of mature plants can also occur in the spring
*Can start indoors in pots/trays if interested

Maintenance:
*Cut down and remove old stems
*Do not grow near dill or coriander/cilantro because it easily cross pollinates with them and reduces seed production
*Pick flowering heads in the summer to maintain the leaf production (esp. if you are not using the flowers)

Harvesting:
*Harvest foliage and flowers as required
*Harvest seeds when ripe, then dry and freeze for a few days to kill any insects
*Lift roots in the fall and dry them
*Freeze leaves if using later

Medicinal:
*Dried ripe fruits/seeds have a calming effect on the digestive system, relieves flatulence, bloating, stomach discomfort
*Its’ pleasant taste and gentle action make it a popular choice for children ailments (for their digestive system)
*Improves the flow of milk in breastfeeding mothers and passes through the milk to improve colic in infants
*Also used to treat coughing, respiratory problems, and antacid
*The seeds and leaves can be used in facial steams and baths for a deep cleansing feel
*Fennel tea mixed with honey is good to rub on skin to lessen wrinkles

Cooking:
*Slice the raw bulbs thinly and add to salads, or cut in half and roast as a vegetable to bring out its’ sweetness
*Use fennel leaves in salads and salad dressings, with fish, pork, and seafood dishes
*Dried seeds can be used in breads, salads, pickles, pasta, and tomato dishes

Companion Plant:
*It attracts beneficial hover flies which keeps aphids away

Misc.:
*It is a natural flea repellent: rub fronds on pet and put fronds under pet’s bedding to deter fleas

 

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