Whoever thinks we only grow vegetables in order to harvest and eat them is missing out on a lot of fun and pleasure. Sure, I eat the crops I grow, but in many cases I spend weeks just admiring them as plants well before their delicious grand finale in the kitchen. And this morning the Florence fennel was doing what it does best: catching dewdrops.
|Here's a flavour combo to try both in the kitchen|
and outdoors. One green strappy leaf in front is
garlic, the pot in the middle is of freshly trimmed
thyme, and behind them is the florence fennel.
|The fennel bulbs are finally getting to a useful|
size. When small their flavour is softer, much
more pleasing than the pungent over-muscled
whoppers so often sold in the shops.
Here in the garden, the main growing tip with fennel is to start it off from seed, in autumn preferably (here in temperate Sydney), but depending on how warm or cold your climate, that sowing time might vary. But the one thing that won't vary is the need to sow it from seed. Fennel belongs to a big bunch of fuss-pot vegies and herbs (carrots, parsnips, parsley and chervil most notably) which do best from seed, hate being transplanted, and which perform erratically at best if planted as seedlings bought from a nursery.
Aside from the flavour of fennel in the kitchen, the other great reason to grow it is to admire its beauty, and on mornings like this there are few prettier dewdrop catchers in the business.