One of the fastest maturing vegetables you can grow, sow now and you will be eating this delicious root vegetable by the end of August.  Florence fennel is the one to sow, try to space the seeds 10/15cm apart in a row,  a deep window box for any other similar container filled with multi purpose compost.  Lightly cover the seed with some more compost, water in and sit back and wait for the seedlings to appear, usually a week or so later.   Keep watering daily,  it is easy to sow too many seeds together so be brave and pull out any seedlings to avoid overcrowding.  Soon, bright green feathery foliage will appear and gradually you will see the bulbs beginning to swell, pick the bulbs small at the end of August or allow them to grow bigger and harvest in September.  Sliced thinly and eat raw in a salad, chargrill, roast or BBQ and don’t forget the green feathery tips used as a herb will add an aniseed flavour to soups and stocks.

Tip: I replant seedlings from my thinnings elsewhere in the garden, if allowed to grow tall, fennel has a pretty yellow flower which adds interest to my borders in late summer. Try Orion or Perfection varieties, both produce mid sized bulbs and are ideal for container growing.

If you are interested in growing vegetables, Parkers-Patch runs courses throughout the year