Fennel, Mantovano (Organic)

Foeniculum vulgare. 75 days.

A superior bulbing/Florence fennel that placed very high out of 14 fennel varieties in the 2015 Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) taste tests. Bulbs mature in about 75 days from spring sowing but can also be summer planted for fall harvest. Bulbs hold in the field for weeks – they seem to just get fatter the longer they are in the ground. Mantovano is great when young and tender, but we really like it at its full-grown size when we cook it in just about everything: It may be blasphemous to some but fennel can be a fun substitute for onions in many dishes. When sliced thinly, the texture is similar and the flavor can be a nice change for those of us who don’t love onions, like Sarah.


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Geographical Origin

Sow indoors in flats with good potting soil March through early July. Transplant into the garden once plants have 3 true leaves. May also be direct sown. We recommend 12″ spacing.

Seed Saving

Seed saving from bulb type fennel can be challenging, as plants need a very long season and are not necessarily winter hardy in our region. If possible, save seed from at least 30 plants to avoid inbreeding. For seed purity, isolate by ¼ mile from other varieties, including wild fennel.

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4 out of 5 stars

1 review

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What others are saying

  1. Matt

    Formed impressive bulbs, great smell. Spring butterflies like it!

    Matt (verified owner)

    Where did you grow this variety? California

    I started seeds in my garage and planted a half doz out in early November with my garlic (Bay Area 10a). They grew wonderfully and I started harvesting them in March, sautéed with onion onto a pizza and roasted with onion and some chicken. I found that there was a surprising and fairly substantial “core” running up through the middle that took up a lot of the tender vegetable. I think thats my fault for attempting them as an overwinter bulb.

    Looking at the description here these will likely do better as spring and summer planting as opposed to over wintering. Looking forward to trying again now as they were very fragrant! I have read that fennel can be allelopathic so watch out for that. One of the garlic plants that was between two fennel plants is totally stunted!

    These appeared to make a wonderfully deep tap root as well (which i left in the ground) so that should be great for soil tilling and nutrient cycling.

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