Friday, 9 May 2008

FENNEL ANYONE?

My fennel are growing magnificently and yesterday  I was out in the garden, getting a break from a whole pile of boring administration that had been piling up, when I thought I would have my lunch, there in situ. I found a few different Asian greens leaves, some sweet potato leaves, a bit of cos lettuce,some green daikon seed pods, a small red capsicum etc etc. Some of last year's fennel plants have been going to seed for months and I just leave them to reseed and provide some habitat for the insect populations. Dry fennel seeds are pretty strong, straight off the stalk so I moved onto the fennel flowers and found them to be much more pleasant and you can eat the little, green stalks too. The in-between stage is when the seed pods begin to form but they are not dry yet. These are OK but I definitely think the groups of tiny flower heads are something anyone would eat quite happily or throw in a salad and they would also look pretty, along with some chopped up fronds.

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The yellow fennel flowers at the perfect stage for eating. Just bite off the clusters. The seed pods have formed but are still green. Still OK to eat, but stronger. Good in a salad.
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A bad photo of the fennel I usually grow - note the coarseness of the frond 'leaves'. Fennel seedlings from Tony Scarfo. The fronds are very soft and dense.
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No matter how you look at it, they are all doing really well especially considering the rough start they got with the heat in March.

Fennel is a great plant because it is all edible - leaves, flowers, seeds, stems and bulbous base. They mature over a long period and are somewhat perennial, providing ongoing crops as well as being popular with lots of beneficial insects when flowering.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Mmmmmm... Fennel! My Winter Fennel just got transplanted last weekend, so I have awhile to wait. ;-)

I love your description of "just snacking" whilst in the veggie garden... I done that so often -- gone out in the morning to water things, come back inside "fully breakfasted". A leaf here, a baby Carrot there, a flower somewhere else...

And it feels so good, too!

Kate said...

Thta's just it Mike - it feels so good.If only we could get everyone to experience that side of it we would have vegetable gardens in every yard.