Dill is one of the easiest herbs to grow and would make a great first herb for someone who has never grown herbs before.
You’ll find lots of uses for both the fronds and the seeds in the kitchen. A sprig of dill will perk up almost any soup, salad, or main dish. Dried dill seeds can be used for pickling brine.
There is also ‘Elephant‘ and ‘Mammoth’ which are very popular in many herb gardens.
Dill likes to be planted in cool weather. In warm winter areas that don’t experience a hard frost, you can plant it in fall or winter. In cooler areas, plant it a week or two before your last hard frost. After the first sowing, plant again every 10 days or so for a continuous crop.
When growing in containers, use a deep container to accommodate the long roots, and remember that you will eventually have a plant that is three feet tall.
Plants grown in containers may require staking.
Also, if grown in a container, make sure it is deep enough for dill’s big root system.
Plant dill in a sunny location that has rich soil; amend soil with plant food or compost once a month. Try to plant it in a location that may be protected from wind – remember, it can grow up to 3 feet tall. The wind may knock over the plants, breaking the stalk.
You can buy transplants at your local garden center, but there is no need because it is easy to grow from seeds. You won’t even have to start them indoors – just plant your dill seeds right in the garden where you want them to grow.
Cover seeds with a light dusting of soil and keep the soil consistently moist. Seeds should germinate in 10-17 days.
If you are interested in a continuous crop of dill, repeatedly sow seeds from mid-spring to early summer. Do not plant it near fennel, carrots, caraway, or angelic. These plants will all compete for moisture and nutrients.
Dill is ready to harvest in 30-55 days after seeding. It goes to seed in about 75-100 days. Snip leaves as needed or pull whole stems for thinning.
The best way to use dill is fresh from the garden, so during the growing season, cut your dill to use fresh as you need it.
If not kept cut, it will go to seed, so cut often until you are ready to switch to seed production.
If you find that you have cut more than you can use, dry the excess in the microwave. Spread the dill in a single layer on a paper towel and microwave on high for 3 minutes. The result is beautiful and tasty – much better than dried dill you buy in the grocery store.
After microwaving, remove and discard the hard stems, crumble the leaves, and store in an airtight container protected from light.
Fresh leaves can also be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
To save seeds, cut 4″ below the flower heads when the seeds are turning brown, and hang heads upside down inside paper bags to catch the seeds as they ripen.
The only significant issue you may find with dill are caterpillars, especially parsleyworms and the Swallowtail caterpillar (the larva of the Swallowtail Butterfly).
Dill is a major food source for the Swallowtail caterpillar. If any are found on your plants, hand pick them off and relocate.
You can also grow extra dill so there will be enough to share with the caterpillar.
Dill is very easy to grow and has many uses in the kitchen. If you are into pickling, then having your own is essential.
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