Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finding Fennel by Heirloom Fan

As the weather began to warm, I noticed some green growth in one of my raised beds and this always gets my attention. Last year I grew several types of greens, including some from a packet of mixed herb greens and among those that came up was a crop of fennel.
When fall arrived, the fennel was still green and doing well, so I didn’t pull it as I did my fall cleanup. Over the winter, I noticed that it remained green. As the weather warmed up I was happy to see that it survived the winter and was now sending out more fresh, green growth.
Fennel is easy to identify in the garden. If you pinch off a leaf and crush it, you will get a sweet anise/licorice scent that is unique to this herb.
Growing herbs is fun and easy. Many garden herbs like Fennel are readily available through seed catalogues and garden centers. If you designate a spot to grow your perennial herbs, you will be able to enjoy and use them year after year.
A great fact sheet to help gardeners learn more about herbs is called Growing, Preserving and Using Herbs and can be found at www.ext.colostate.edu/Pubs/foodnut/09335.html. This fact sheet includes a handy chart that shows which herbs are annual and which are perennial, how to grow them, how to preserve them and ways that they are commonly used in cooking. Use this chart to help you select herbs that suit your taste and try a new one each year.