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Harvest flowers: Allow the seed heads to ripen completely on the plan. When they become brown and dry, cut the heads and place in a brown paper bag or open jar to dry.
Collect seeds: Once seed heads are dry and the seeds have darkened, seal paper bag or container and shake to release the seed.
Label and Store: Label and store seed in a cool, dry location. Fennel seeds can last up to three years.
Fennel does well in full sun with well-drained soil. Plant in spring, after the last winter frost. If you live in a windy location, it may be a good idea to stake the fennel for extra support.
Fennel will cross between varieties, so when saving seed, a distance isolation of at least 1/2 mile is recommended to preserve seed integrity. If sufficient space in unavailable, growers may employ a bagging or caging technique and either cover different varieties on alternating days, or hand pollinate flowers. In order to hand pollinate, use a soft-bristle brush to transfer pollen between different plants while flowers are in bloom.
Sources: http://www.heirloom-organics.com/guide/va/guidetogrowingfennel.html ; http://howtosaveseeds.com/seedsavingdetails.php#carrotfamily
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