As regards multi-sowing, I usually sow my fennel direct, rather than in plugs and transplant, but I have noticed, rather like with turnips or carrots or other roots, that if you don’t thin them, that some plants will still grow bigger than others, and when you harvest these, other smaller ones will then grow into the available space left behind. A case of ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ I guess, but from my observations it looks like 3-4 or even more per clump will still work. I would recommend cutting fennel off at ground level with a sharp knife rather than pulling as they have a deep tap root that would disturb the others nearby if pulled.
Last spring I sowed a large pot of fennel in the greenhouse, probably early March, to try get an early crop. I got a reasonable harvest from them about June/July, but the bulbs were not as big as those in the ground would be. However the few that remained in the pot provided an unexpected treat. Having harvested most of them, when the weather heated up the remainder went to seed. They were unceremoniously dumped at the back of the greenhouse, where they were blown over. About September I discovered them again and to my delight, each blown over plant had sprouted along its length, producing a very fine collection of mini-fennel, and even better, when I brought the pot back into the greenhouse, it went on producing mini-fennel plants and plenty of fennel top for herb all through the winter. It is still growing 16 months later. see attached photo
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