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Articles about Vegetable Crops for the Garden

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  Best Vegetable Crops for Containers
  Brandywine Tomatoes - Get the Most From This Heirloom Variety
  Choosing a Site For Your Home Vegetable Garden
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  Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening Ideas
  Indoor Vegetable Gardening How to Tips
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  How to grow organic Asparagus
  How to grow organic Aubergines
  How to grow organic Beetroot
  How to grow organic Broad beans
  How to grow organic Broccoli
  How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
  How to grow organic Cabbage
  How to grow organic Calabrese
  How to grow organic Carrot
  How to grow organic Cauliflower
  How to grow organic Celeriac
  How to grow organic Celery
  How to grow organic Celtuce
  How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
  How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
  How to grow organic Chicory
  How to grow organic Corn
  How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
  How to grow organic Endive
  How to grow organic Florence fennel
  How to grow organic French beans
  How to grow organic Garlic
  How to grow organic Globe artichokes
  How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
  How to grow organic Kale and borecole
  How to grow organic Kohl rabi
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  How to grow organic Leaf beet
  How to grow organic Leeks
  How to grow organic Lettuce
  How to grow organic Mizuna
  How to grow organic Mustard greens
  How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
  How to grow organic Onions
  How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
  How to grow organic Peas
  How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
  How to grow organic Potatoes
  How to grow organic Radishes
  How to grow organic Rocket
  How to grow organic Runner beans
  How to grow organic Salad onions
  How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
  How to grow organic Seakale
  How to grow organic Shallots
  How to grow organic Spinach
  How to grow organic Squash
  How to grow organic Swede
  How to grow organic Texsel greens
  How to grow organic Tomatoes
  How to grow organic Turnips




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Organic Gardening:


How to grow organic Florence fennel


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Florence fennel
Florence fennel is grown for the stem bases

Florence fennel (Finocchio, Sweet fennel)

Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum

Family: Umbelliferae (Group 3)

Florence fennel, also known as finocchio, is one of the most decorative garden vegetables, grown for the succulent, aniseed-flavoured bulb which develops from the swollen bases of the leaf stalks. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult vegetables to bring to maturity, due to its sensitivity to any adverse conditions it encounters. The related herb fennel is dealt with in the herbs section.

Site/soil

Fennel grows best in a sunny position on light sandy soil, though any fertile, well drained soil into which plenty of organic matter has been worked will do.

Cultivation

Florence fennel is a difficult crop, as plants tend to bolt rather than swell at the base. Some cultivars are sensitive to day-length, and bolt if sown before mid-summer; growth checks caused by water shortage, low temperatures, fluctuating temperatures or transplant shock may also result in premature bolting. Improved cultivars are continually being developed which have better resistance to bolting, though none is perfect. Pleasantly warm summers with plenty of moisture are ideal conditions for fennel.

Florence fennel will withstand light frost towards the end of the season. For early winter supplies a late sowing can be made for transplanting under cover. This will not always produce bulbs, but the leaves and stems can be used in salads.

Florence fennel does not like root disturbance, so either sow direct 1cm (½") deep in rows 45cm (18") apart, thinning eventually to about 30cm (12") each way, or sow in small pots or modules, hardening off before planting out at the same final spacing. This method is recommended for early sowings and late sowings transplanted under cover. The first outdoor plantings can be protected with crop covers such as fleece.

Sow from late April to early June, using bolt resistant cultivars for sowings before mid June, for a summer crop. You can also sow in modules in mid July to early August for transplanting under cover.

Keep the crop weed free and well watered. Mulch to conserve soil moisture. Once the stems start to swell, earth them up about halfway for a whiter, sweeter crop (you can add paper collars to keep the soil out, as with trench celery).

Harvest takes place from late July to September, about 15-20 days after earthing up, at about tennis ball size. Cut just above soil level, leaving the stump in the ground. This will usually throw up further small feathery shoots, which can be used in salads. The bulbs can be sliced for use in salads, or served cooked.



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