Crop Profile

Rick Gush

Florence fennel

Florence fennel, also known as Sweet Fennel or finocchio, develops a big, swollen bulb at the base of the stems. Native to Italy, Florence fennel are often tricky to grow because they don’t always develop desirable bulbs. The plants themselves will always grow well, whether the weather’s hot or cold, but the stems seem to only thicken during slightly warm, but not hot, periods. Like wild fennel, Florence fennel tastes like licorice, but the green growth is shorter and more abundant, and the swollen bulbs are tremendous, having celery-like consistency.

Size: Stems grow 2 to 3 feet tall

Sunlight requirements: Best in full sun

Water requirements: One to three times a week

Soil requirements: Moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0

When to plant: After date of the last frost or six to eight weeks before the first frost

Where to plant: Garden area with full sun exposure

When to harvest: When bulbs are no more than 3 inches across

Product storage: Wrap bulbs in plastic, and store in a cool place

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