Climate Information for Fennel Farming.
The crop requires quite less than the average temperature for its growth. The range stays between 16°C to 22°C. However, excessive heat resulting in temperature over 30°C is harmful to the crop and if accompanied by excessive rainfall, impacts the crop yield. Fennel requires a very low quantity of annual rainfall ranging between 50-75 mm. The best yield is, however, obtained in cold and dry conditions.
Fennel is a crop typically of the cool seasons. It requires a cold climate for its optimum growth. It is an ideal crop for the hilly zones of India where it can be grown in both rain-fed and mildly irrigated conditions. The crop is sensitive to high temperature and thus low temperature should be ensured for the good yield. Dry and cold climate during the setting of seeds will result in excellent seed yield and quality.
Suitable Soil for Fennel Farming.
Fennel crop can be grown best in a wide range of variety of soils. However, black cotton soils and loamy soils containing lime are best for the cultivation. The soil should be rich in organic matter for obtaining high yields. Shallow sandy soils should be avoided since it imparts a deteriorating effect on the crop yield. The optimum range of pH may vary from 5.5 to 7.0 which indicates that the optimum condition would prevail at moderately acidic soil. However, proper drainage of the soil should be ensured whatever the soil is.
Recommended sowing times for Fennel Farming.
Since it is not a hardcore food crop, it has no particular season of sowing. However, in India, the best time for sowing fennel is from the month of mid-September to mid-October, that is, in the Rabi season. The seeds can either be broadcasted or sown in lines. Delay in sowing might reduce the yield of the crop.
Land preparation for Fennel Farming.
An important task required for fennel farming is proper land preparation. A good quality weed-free and debris-free soil should be prepared. On the marginal and sub-marginal rain-fed soils, three to four ploughings are undertaken followed by harrowing to get the soil to the stage of fine tilth. Fennel crops require organic matter or well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) of about 20-25 tonnes per hectare amount uniformly spread over the crop field.
Sowing methods and tips for Fennel Farming.
Propagation in fennel plants is done entirely through seeds. No vegetative or asexual method of propagation is generally practiced since the seeds are so easy to obtain and use. After collection of the seeds from matured plants, the best ones with excellent vigour are chosen for successful propagation. The seed rate of fennel is fairly high and an amount of 10-12 kg is enough to cover a land of 1 hectare. However, the seed rate entirely depends on the cultivar and the method of sowing.
Irrigation methods for Fennel Farming.
Fennel is essentially a dryland crop and in case of a well-distributed rainfall, does not require any additional irrigation. However, in extremely dry areas and in special cases of drought, irrigation is essential. The first irrigation should be carried out immediately after sowing the seeds. Subsequent irrigations should be provided until the seeds start germinating. The flowering and seed formation stages are critical for the crop yield and thus appropriate soil moisture should be ensured and water stress should be avoided.
Fertilizer Requirements for fennel farming.
About 20-25 tonnes of good quality and well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) or compost should be applied uniformly per hectares of the land. Then, the manure should be properly mixed with the soil by means of right tillage practices before sowing during the stage of land preparation. Afterwards, under appropriate soil moisture conditions, the dosages of fertilizers should be –
Nitrogen at the rate of 90 kg per hectare in 3 equal splits
Phosphorus at the rate of 40 kg per hectare
The deep placement of fertilizers provides better results. The fertilizers should be applied in two splits after the basal application at a gap of 30 and 60 days.
Best Varieties for fennel Farming.
The varieties of fennel differ essentially in the degree of strength in aroma, the color of the stem and branches, nature of flowers and size of seeds. Some high yielding varieties found in India include Gujarat Fennel-1, Co-1, Rf-125, RF-101 and RF-35.
Seed Requirement for fennel Farming.
For direct sowing into the fields, the seed rate of fennel is 9-12 kg of seeds per hectare whereas, for transplanting method of cultivation, the required seed rate becomes 3-4 kg per hectare planted in a nursery area of 100 square meters.
Seed treatment required for fennel farming.
For preventing diseases of the plant, dust Sulphur at the rate of 25 kg per hectare of seeds with wet Sulphur at the rate of 2 gram per liter per hectare of seeds should be used.
Best practices for Fennel Farming.
Weed control or intercultural operations – For fennel plants, first hoeing and weeding should be carried out after one month of sowing. It is necessary for controlling unwanted weeds since the weeds affect the overall yield of the plants. Chemical weedicides like Pendimethalin at the rate of 1 kg per hectare is best effective if used within limits.
Harvesting and post harvesting – Crop becomes ready for harvesting in about 6 months or 180 days after planting. The crop should be harvested by plucking the umbels when seeds are extremely ripe and developed. Harvesting time lasts for a month with plucking being done twice or thrice at an interval of 10-12 days. After harvest, they should be stacked in a dry place and then dried in the sun for a couple of days and then dried in the shade for 8 to 10 days. The dried seeds can be stored in jute bags. To prevent damage from frost, the seeds should be treated with 0.1% solution of dilute sulphuric acid.