My favorite foods to grow are the perennial ones.
There's nothing better than having a crop return year after year without having to
plant them out and care for seedlings.
Currently I have Egyptian tree onions, Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, asparagus and many perennial herbs.
Recently, I was researching the health benefits of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and was excited to find out that it is a fairly hardy perennial suitable for our zone 5 climate and it repels insects so it seems to be a great vegetable/herb to grow organically.
According to NutritionData.com, Fennel "is very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate, Potassium and Manganese."
Every part of the plant is edible from the roots to the stalk, leave and seeds.
Fennel has many health benefits and is said to help many digestive complaints, reduce inflammations, it is said to reduce fevers, relieve gout and act as a natural pain medication.
Fennel does not seem very difficult to grow. Directions are:
It is easy to grow and very hardy, lasting well after the first frost. With bright green, fern-like leaves and aromatic yellow flowers, this plant will grow three to four feet tall.
Directly sow seeds into your garden as early in the season as the ground can be worked. Sow seeds early in the season and cover with 1/4" of soil. Space seedlings or thin plants to 10-12" apart, in rows 18-24 inches apart.
Start a new planting in mid summer to harvest in the fall.
They prefer full sun and a well drained soil. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week.
Harvest leaves as at any time. Harvest flower heads after seeds have formed and the flower head has died. Extract seeds and dry them in a cool, dry location.
Harvest bulbs when they reach tennis ball size or bigger. Pull every other one out as needed to allow those remaining to grow even bigger.
Do not pull all the plants as they will grow back next year, simple cut them off at the base. They are very hardy and should continue to thrive and grow, even after a number of hard frosts.
Fennel is in general a poor companion plant in the garden. It inhibits the growth of nearby plants, especially beans, tomatoes and kohlrabi...Grow away from dill.
Seems simple enough. This year I am going to incorporate a new bed for fennel in my garden.
To read more about this great plat visit Plants For A Future.