Are you growing fennel in California, but don’t know when the best time to harvest them is?
Harvesting fennel is not as easy as it seems.
- Fennel have a very short window when they can be harvested and still taste great.
So if you harvest them too early they may not be ready and taste bad. And if you harvest them too late they may become infected with mold, fungus, insects, etc., and become inedible.
Today, I’m going to teach you the ideal time to harvest fennel in California:
- To Learn More About HOW to Grow Fennel, Check Out This GUIDE!
When Do I Harvest Fennel in California?
As you may have already guessed, there are two main factors that determine when you should harvest your fennel: the physical features of the fennel & weather (time).
Harvest Fennel if They Look Like This!!!
The physical features of fennel are what most gardeners commonly rely on to determine if they are ready to be picked off the plant or not.
In general, you should harvest fennel if they have the following physical features:
- The entire fennel is a solid red color. If the fennel is a lighter shade of red, it is not ready to be harvested
- The fennel is slightly soft. Too hard means it is not ready. Too soft means it is overripe (but still edible)
- Easily able to be deattached from the the plant. This means it has absorbed all the nutrients it needs and is ready.
Harvest Your Fennel During THIS Time of Year!!!
In general, you should harvest fennel:
- 65 to 85 days after starting fennel from seed
- 40 to 50 days after planting fennel in your garden
- 20 to 30 days after fennel first appear
And no matter what, you should ALWAYS harvest your fennel before the first frost of the year. Frost will immediately kill your fennel plant and make your fennel inedible.
For your reference, I have created this table for average frost dates for most major cities in California. If your city is not listed below you can find its Last & First Frost Dates HERE.
California Last & First Frost Dates
It should be noted that you should not overly rely on the first frost of the year. The average first frost of the year is only correct 30% of the time.
Instead, pay close attention to your local weather.
When you know a frost is coming you need to take action.
- If fennel are in pots, bring them inside
- If fennel are in the ground, cover them in burlap and hope they survive
- Pick all fennel. If they are not ready, place them in a brown paper bag and store them for approximately 1 to 2 weeks to see if they become edible.
If you want to learn WHEN to harvest ANY Vegetable in California, head over to HERE and just type in the vegetable you want to grow.