Common fennel - what is the value of culture and how to grow it?
Fennel is a culture that everyone has heard of, but not everyone has tried to grow. What do we know about her? That outwardly the plant is very easy to confuse with dill. That in fennel there are a lot of essential oils, but it grows impressively strong. It smells strange, especially if you confuse it with a fragrant "relative". Do you know that in European countries fennel is not inferior in popularity to any other green culture? And rightly so! In this article, I will introduce readers to the characteristics of fennel and how to grow it. Perhaps after reading this season you will plant fennel in your beds.
Botanical description of the plant
Common fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a representative Umbrella family. As already mentioned, in appearance, especially in the early stages of development, it is very much like dill. For this reason, it has a number of popular names - medicinal dill, dill Voloshsky, dill pharmacy.
However, unlike dill, fennel has a slightly sweet spicy taste, anise-like aroma, and a more powerful bush reaching a height of over 1 m. A many-headed, rather thick (1 cm diameter) root branching in the upper part.
The stem of the plant is thin-ribbed, straight, round, branched. Complex pinnately dissected and ovate-triangular leaves with linear-filiform or linear-silt lobes of the last order. Five-membered flowers, collected in double umbrellas with 3-20 rays, with a diameter of 3 to 15 cm. Fennel fruits - ovipers - consist of two easily separable parts, have a greenish-brown color, about 8 mm long.
In the Caucasus and Crimea, fennel can often be found in the wild. On the outside, the plant prefers grassy places; it often grows in ditches and near roads.
Useful properties of fennel
Due to its composition, fennel is used as a general strengthening, calming, antipyretic, expectorant, antitussive, antispasmodic, carminative, mild laxative, diuretic, anthelmintic and antifungal. On its basis, a whole series of healing preparations and medications are made, aimed at strengthening the immune and nervous system, cleansing the body of toxins and toxins, restoring the liver, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, vision, lungs.
In addition, fennel essential oil obtained from seeds is widely used in soap making, perfumery and cosmetics. But the dried stems are used in knitting mixed bath brooms.
However, like most healthy vegetables, fennel has a downside - its consumption should not be abused. Eaten in large quantities, it causes nausea, indigestion, lowers blood pressure.
Useful properties of fennel have all parts of the plant.
Ways of consumption and processing
In cooking, fennel is used quite varied. Often it can be found not only in the recipe of European, but also Mediterranean, Asian cuisine. The thickened stalk (head of cabbage) is boiled, stewed, baked - fennel goes well with meat, fish, vegetables. Add to soups, to the filling for pizza, to dressing for vermicelli, to vitamin fruit salads, to smoothies. Marinate.
The roots are also boiled and stewed. Greens are added to salads, dried. Tea is brewed from seeds, used as a powder for raw vegetable slices, in preservation, as spices for the preparation of spicy oriental sweets, in bakery.
There are varieties of ordinary fennel, which are grown on herbs and for collecting seeds, and there are vegetable varieties. For this reason, there are so many ways to use it.
Vegetable varieties of fennel, which are appreciated not only for fleshy thickening (head of cabbage), but also large petioles - "Deceiver", Luzhnovsky Semko, "Soprano", "Meteorite", "Florence", Rudy F1, Di Ferenze, "Aroma", "Autumn handsome", "Corvette", "Leader".
Oilseed varieties of fennel (grown to collect greens and seeds) - "Crimean", Chernivtsi – 3, Marshmallow, "Mercishopr".
Grade "Pepper" different burning taste. Grades ‘Giant Bronze ’ and ‘Purpureum ’ they are valued for their decorativeness - their leaves have a purple-bronze color.
Agricultural technology fennel
Fennel is a fairly demanding culture. He loves light, light fertile soil and moisture. It reacts to thickening and lack of water by early flowering and a deterioration in the taste of fleshy thickening. For this reason, it is necessary to choose a place for it sunny, fertilized and with the possibility of regular watering.
Since the culture blooms in July-August, and the fruits ripen in early autumn, it is recommended to plant it for seedlings with a short summer in the seedling method (the same recommendation for the cabbage varieties). To do this, fennel is sown in plates at the end of March, then dive into separate cups, and when the threat of return frosts passes, they are planted in a permanent place.
Where fennel is warm enough, sowing can be carried out directly into the ground, immediately to a permanent place. Usually it is produced already in early May, when the soil warms up to +8 ° C. At the same time, the seed placement depth should not exceed 1.5-2 cm. It is recommended to leave a step between plants of 20-25 cm and 50-60 cm between rows. If sowing small seeds piece by piece is inconvenient, you can sow them “generously”, but then you must thin out the rows.
Caring for fennel is simple, but even here you need to know the characteristics of the culture. In addition to watering and weeding, plants grown on a head of cabbage, as soon as their stem begins to thicken, it is necessary to spud. With good growth, hilling is repeated so that the height of the mound is 7-10 cm.
In the southern regions, fennel is grown as a perennial crop, in the northern - as an annual. In the middle lane, with good shelter, individual varieties can overwinter.
Diseases and pests of fennel
Like all vegetables, fennel has its “enemies” - these are diseases and pests. However, subject to agrotechnics, diseases on plants can be met very rarely. What affects culture? Different rot (white, gray, fusarium), phomosis, rust, real and downy mildew.
The list of pests is wider and depends on the growing zone. It can be snails, earwigs, slobbering pennies, meadow, Italian and sorrel bugs, long-legged mosquitoes, single-point lepture, meadow pale moth and others.
Harvesting and storage
All parts are edible in fennel. Fresh greens can be cut off as it grows. Thick base of stems (head of cabbage) - when they reach 10 cm in diameter. Seeds - as they mature.
Heads of fennel can be cut in two ways - under the base or 3 cm above it. In the latter version, the plant will begin to grow new shoots. You can store the crop for a week in the refrigerator, for a longer time - in a sandbox in the basement, after removing the petioles.
The maturation of fennel seeds is uneven, for this reason their collection begins when the central umbrellas mature. For this, plants are cut (or only ripe umbrellas are cut), formed into bunches, suspended in a shaded, well-blown place for ripening and drying. After drying, the seeds are removed from the umbrellas and dried, spread out in a thin layer on a flat surface.
Then it is cleaned of coarse debris (fragments of the rays of umbrellas and leaflets accidentally dropped), sifted, poured into cloth bags or placed in glass jars and closed with a plastic cover. Store in a cool, dry place. Fennel seeds are stored in a well-dried form in a closed container for up to 3 years.