Finocchio resembles onions in appearance, though the bulbs are a delicate green and their flavor is completely different — a slight anise-laced sweetness. Fennel bulbs can be used raw or cooked, which makes them terrifically versatile. The fronds and stalks can be used in addition to the bulbs.
Finocchio can be planted right up till August, so it’s not too late to get started! The bulb does take months to grow to its full size, but you can use it at any point. When the bulbs are about the size of an egg, pile the soil up around the plant so it will continue to grow away from the light. This produces the almost-white bulbs you see at the market. At this point the bulb should be ready to harvest in 2 to 3 weeks. You may cut off the seed heads when they form and give the bulb a few more days to grow, then harvest. In mild climates like ours, you can grow and harvest fennel all year long using this method!