Common fennel, commonly referred to as dill, is a vegetable crop that has been in demand for many centuries for its beneficial properties and taste. In the wild, this culture grows in Central and Western Asia, Europe, North Africa, Japan, the Caucasus and the Crimea, although Italy is considered its real homeland.
Unpretentious plant, characterized by an aniseed aroma, found on dry rocky slopes, near dwellings and along roads. On an industrial scale, fennel is grown in France, Romania, Spain, South Africa, the Czech Republic, India, Holland, and Hungary. Such a culture found its recognition on the territory of Ukraine and Russia.
Common fennel: description
Belonging to the celery family, fennel is characterized by an upright, bluish-tinged, highly branched, rounded stem that can reach a height of 2 meters. The leaves are green, repeatedly pinnate, similar todill leaves.
The main roots, of which there are several, are taprooted, powerful, have a thickness of 1-1.5 cm. The flowers of the plant are very small, collected in umbrellas, bloom from July to August. From the moment of sowing, fennel blooms for the second season. The fruits are quite small (the weight of a thousand pieces is approximately 7 grams), characterized by an oblong shape and a sweetish taste. Their full ripening occurs in September.
Fennel as a garden crop
Many summer residents plant little fennel, which requires a lot of trouble with a small harvest. In addition, its proximity to other vegetable crops (tomatoes, cumin, carrots, beans, peppers, spinach, beans) is unfavorable. There is an opinion that the plant inhibits the growth of its neighbors. However, when planted in a separate bed, timely processing and watering, common fennel does not harm nearby growing crops: it takes roots in foreign territory only with a lack of moisture. By the way, the scent of fennel repels aphids.
Properties of common fennel
Today, fashionable fennel ordinary (photos are presented in the article) has a lot of properties that are useful for the human body.
Its seeds contain trace elements, fatty oils, mineral s alts, protein and sugar. Young shoots, seeds, petioles and their fleshy bases - a kind of cabbage heads are used for food.
Fennel seeds contain sugar, proteins,fats, essential oil, of which atenol is an integral part, and are used in the preparation of confectionery and bakery products, puddings, soups and wine. A colorless essential oil obtained by steam distillation and characterized by a strong anise scent, it has been successfully used in the perfume industry.
The contraindications of this plant include its individual intolerance. If you feel dizzy or nauseated, you need to stop using it. It is not recommended to use fennel during pregnancy, lactation period and epileptic seizures. An overdose of preparations containing fennel as their basis can lead to indigestion and the appearance of allergic reactions.
Young shoots and leaves are an excellent substitute for the usual dill, and petioles are a specific seasoning for conservation. Greens are put in dishes - in limited quantities and only fresh. By the way, the ability to produce fresh greens until frost is one of the valuable qualities of fennel. Heads of cabbage are suitable for consumption after light heat treatment: stewing, frying and baking; they are also added raw to salads.
How to cultivate common fennel? Growing from seeds is not particularly difficult. An important point is the choice of high-quality and fresh seeds, of which 2 types are presented on store shelves: ordinary fennel gives only greens andseeds, and vegetable (or Italian) - dense snow-white cabbages. Seeds remain viable for 2-3 years.
Fennel can be propagated vegetatively by dividing the bush, but this method is rarely used. Gardeners like sowing fennel seeds. This operation is carried out twice a year - in spring (from April to the end of May) or in winter (August-September) - to a depth of 2 cm in a pre-harvested bed. If necessary, the soil needs to be limed, seasoned with stale sawdust and humus (1 bucket per 1 sq. Meter) or ash (0.5 kg per 1 sq. Meter). Light-loving fennel feels most comfortable on light loamy or sandy loamy soils. It is recommended to change the planting site every year, and use winter and tilled crops as predecessors. Before planting, the soil needs to be fertilized, a bucket of compost, peat or manure humus per square meter and a couple of cans of sawdust.
Features of sowing
When spring sowing (in the first ten days of April), the bed until May must be kept under a film in order to preserve moisture. After 5-10 days, the emerging seedlings need to be thinned out, leaving a 20-centimeter interval between plants. With a dense planting, there is a high probability of premature stemming and flowering, thickened petioles will not reach the desired size, which will negatively affect the quality of the expected harvest. After thinning, fennel must be fed with infusion of mullein. fennel seedsrise unfriendly. If planted too early, the plant is prone to bolting.
Common fennel, whose beneficial properties and contraindications are appreciated by traditional medicine, can be grown by seedlings. Sowing for seedlings is carried out in late February - early March. A pick in this case is optional, but desirable (once, when landing in open ground).
In late May - early June, crops need to be lightly spudded, approximately 3-7 cm high. It is recommended to repeat this procedure, aimed at obtaining fleshy bleached basal roots, twice a season. In order to avoid smearing the white heads of fennel, it is recommended to artificially protect the lower part of the plant at the beginning of summer. To do this, you need to cut rings from a plastic bottle (approximate width - 20 cm) and put them on the plants, slightly deepening into the ground. In the process of growth, fennel needs to be fed twice with an infusion of fermented grass or mullein, for the preparation of which cow dung must be diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 3. For irrigation, the resulting infusion is recommended to be used in a ratio of 1:10.
Common fennel, the cultivation of which is not particularly difficult, needs frequent loosening and watering: every 5-6 days (for every square meter - 10-15 liters of water). Soil mulching can be applied to protect against weeds and conserve moisture. Fennel fruits ripen in August-September.
Fennel harvesting allows you to get valuableuseful raw material and produced throughout the summer. After collection, the leaf mass is dried, ventilated and stored in a hermetically sealed container, preferably glass. Seeds are harvested as they mature, in the brown stage. Then they are dried for 2-3 days in a well-ventilated dark place, crushed or threshed. Seeds should be stored in a well sealed container. Harvesting of the roots occurs by digging them, washing them off the ground, drying and cutting. After that, they need to be dried or frozen well. Alternatively, fennel roots can be stored in the usual way, like other root vegetables.
Common fennel, whose beneficial properties have been known for a long time, has found its application in the medical industry and is used in the treatment of nervous and skin diseases. Decoctions and infusions from this plant are used as a preventive measure for colds. Fennel oil is the basis for the preparation of dill water, endowed with expectorant and laxative properties. Most often, this remedy is prescribed for bloating in newborn babies, as well as painful gastrointestinal spasms.
Fennel extract is found in many preparations aimed at the destruction of fleas and lice in pets. In the fight against such parasites, you can use the plant fresh. To do this, fresh leaves need to be crushed and rubbed into the fur of four-legged pets.
Fennel fruits are used forimprove digestion and stimulate appetite, with accumulation of gases in the intestines, kidney ailments, inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract. To prepare a medicinal solution, pour 2-3 tablespoons of crushed fennel fruits into a glass of boiling water and take 1-3 tablespoons 3-4 times a day.
In therapeutic baths, the effect of fennel brooms is effective, which, in combination with water vapor, has a relaxing and at the same time healing effect on the human body.