My Sweet Valley fennel is not producing bulbs?

There are two types of fennel, leaf-producing and bulb-producing.

Fennel is a sweet, anise or licorice-flavored herb that pairs well with fish dishes, soups and stews, and the seed is often used in sausage.  Used widely in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, it is growing in popularity and is becoming a staple in many people’s kitchen herb gardens.

Sometimes confused with Florence fennel (bulb-type fennel), Sweet fennel can grow between 3 to 5 feet in height.  It has feathery foliage like that of dill and will have flat clusters of yellow flowers that come in late summer.  All parts of sweet fennel can be harvested and used. Florence fennel on the other hand is shorter and is grown primarily for its bulb.

Sweet fennel (leafy type) is the variety that Sweet Valley produces. Once planted and large enough, it is harvested by cutting away the larger stems at the base of the plant allowing for the young leaves to grow up. If you are growing your fennel for its seed, you will need to wait until the seed heads turn brown, so they separate easier from the seed head.  Store your fennel seeds in an airtight container.

Fennel leaves can also be dried and stored for later use or use fresh because fresh is best!

 Tips & Tricks

  • Did you know that in many parts of India and Pakistan, roasted sugared fennel seeds are consumed as mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and breath freshener.
  • Leaves have a stronger flavor than the bulb.
  • Fennel belongs to the carrot and parsley family.
  • Planting fennel will attract beneficial insects to the garden.