New England

May, 2002
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Florence Fennel
My new favorite plant is bulbing fennel, also known as Florence or sweet fennel, or finocchio (Foeniculum vulgare dulce). Although fennel is mostly known for the aniselike flavor its seeds add to culinary creations, I've started growing it for the "bulbs" -- actually, the bulblike base of the stems. The bulbs can be sliced and added raw to a salad or used for dipping, or stir-fried with other vegetables. Either way, fennel lends a subtle anise flavor and aroma. If the bulbs are left unharvested, the plant will eventually produce flowers that attract beneficials to the garden, and the seeds can be harvested, dried, and used in baking. The feathery, dill-like foliage is attractive to boot!

Web Finds

Companion Planting
Companion Planting: Basic Concept and Resources, published by Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), gives in-depth information on the subject, including a chart of good (and not-so-good) companion plants. It also lists other resources, including books, Web sites, and study results. At the bottom of the page are detailed planting diagrams and variety recommendations for some traditional Three Sisters gardens.

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