Fennel is relatively hardy and can be grown year round in zones 5-10. Grow as a perennial in colder zones.
Plant fennel in an area of the garden that receives full sun exposure and has loose, deep soil. Best to grow fennel away from other garden vegetables because it will cross pollinate, making for mixed flavor results, at best. Fennel grows back by itself each year, so dedicate a space in the garden to fennel if you plan to keep it going.
Fennel can be grown in large pots as well. It produces a long taproot and needs sufficient soil space to accommodate it, so containers are not always sufficient.
Most fennel recipes call for just the white bulb, which is typically cored and sliced or chopped, depending on the preparation. When thinly sliced, the fennel bulb is great in salads -- it's crunchy and slightly sweet and subtly licorice-like, but not as pungent as licorice root or black licorice candy.
But don't toss the stalks and fronds. The stalks can be used to make stock, or chopped and sauteed with other vegetables in a mirepoix (a typical French blend of onion, celery and carrot) for a soup or stew. The fronds can be added to salads or chopped and used to garnish dishes.