Dill is a popular herb in the kitchen, flavoring everything from pickles to fish. Gourmets know that you can’t beat fresh dill for the flavor. The best way to have the very freshest dill possible is by growing dill in your own garden. Let’s look at how to grow dill.
One of the benefits of growing dill is that both the leaves and seeds of dill weed plants are edible.
The best way how to grow dill is directly from seeds rather than from a transplant. Planting dill seed is easy. Dill planting is simply done by scattering the seeds in the desired location after the last frost, then lightly cover the seeds with soil. Water the area thoroughly.
Planting Dill Seed.
Growing dill plants and caring for dill plants is also very easy. Dill weed plants grow best in full sun. Other than this, dill will grow happily in both poor and rich soil or in damp or dry conditions.
To harvest the dill leaves, regularly trim off the desired amount of leaves you need for cooking. If you wish to harvest dill seeds, allow the plant to grow without trimming until it goes into bloom. Once dill weed plants go into bloom, they’ll stop growing leaves, so make sure that you don’t harvest any leaves from that plant. The dill flower will fade and will develop the seed pods. When the seed pods have turned brown, cut the whole flower head off and place in a paper bag. Gently shake the bag. The seeds will fall out of the flower head and seed pods and you’ll be able to separate the seeds from the waste.
There are many recipes that use dill. Planting this herb in your garden will keep plenty of fresh dill on hand for all of these recipes. Now that you know how to grow dill, you have no reason not to be planting dill seed out this year.
Care of Dill Weed Plants.
Harvesting Dill Weed Plants.
Do Harvest in June.
Sow dill seeds outdoors directly into well prepared soil in a sheltered, sunny position. Sow seeds thinly in rows 1cm deep. Dill can also be sown directly in large pots. Make regular sowings for a continuous supply of fresh leaves through the summer. Dill tends to bolt if its roots have been disturbed on planting. But if you want to get a head start, you can sow seeds under cover a little earlier in the season, using plug trays. Plant out the plugs after all risk of frost has passed.
Do not Plant in October.
Do not Sow in November.
The leaves are best used fresh, but can be frozen for later use. Dill seeds should be stored in an airtight container. See some of tasty recipes using dill, from our friends at Olive Magazine.
Looking after dill.
Plant does not flower in January.
Do Sow in April.
As well as the usual temptation for slugs and snails, young dill plants can be plagued by greenfly. These sap sucking aphids will coat the plant with their sticky honeydew. The best method of treatment is to squash the colonies of greenfly with your fingers.
Do not Harvest in January.
25cm between rows.
As well as its medicinal and culinary uses, it is also a beautiful ornamental plant with feathery leaves, similar to fennel with umbels of yellow flowers. Dill is also a magnet for different kinds of wildlife.
Dill flowers will attract bees, hoverflies and butterflies and caterpillars of the beautiful European swallowtail butterfly, Papilio machaon, will eat the leaves.
Dill, Anethum graveolens, or dill weed, is a delicious, easy-to-grow herb used mostly with fish dishes, although it was once a popular remedy for coughs and headaches.
Do not Sow in March.
Do not Sow in December.
Plant does not flower in November.
Do not Sow in October.
Do not Harvest in February.
Plant does not flower in April.
Do Plant in July.
Do not Sow in August.
Plant does flower in September.
Do not Plant in November.
Do not Sow in February.
Do not Harvest in May.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 20cm apart. Keep plants well-watered, particularly during hot, dry weather. Keep weed-free to stop any competition for water and nutrients. Plants may need additional support from canes, as strong winds can flatten them. Dill does not normally need feeding, but an occasional liquid feed of a balanced fertiliser can give the plant a boost.
Do Plant in May.
Do not Plant in April.
Plant does flower in October.
Plant does not flower in February.
Growing Ideal pH: 5.0-7.0. Grow in moderately rich soil in full sun. Water and feed regularly, and stop any overhead watering once plants are 60cm (24″) tall to prevent issues with mildew forming on the leaves.
Seed Info Usual seed life: 3 years.
Latin Anethum graveolens Family: Apiaceae.
Harvest Begin harvesting the tasty leaves once plants reach 15cm (6″) tall. About 12 weeks after sprouting the seed heads begin to form. When the first seeds have turned brown, cut the whole head and hang it upside down for the drying seeds to fall out into trays or paper bags. Dill leaf loses most of its flavour when dried, so freeze it in ice cube trays filled with water for use all winter.
Season & Zone Season: Warm season Exposure: Full sun.
Dill grows tall and produces lots of aromatic leaves. The umbels of yellow flowers attract numerous beneficial insects to the garden. Dill plants are attractive to ladybird beetles, which will lay their eggs on the stems. Continue reading below for some tricks on how to grow dill from seed.
Starting Dill seeds need some light to germinate. Sow seeds no more than 5mm (¼”) deep in rows 45cm (18″) apart. Thin the plants to stand at least 15cm (6″) apart.
Timing Direct sow late spring through summer, or sow when cucumbers are transplanted, to coincide maturity for pickling. Dill tends to bolt if transplanted, so it is best direct sown. Stagger the harvest by sowing every 2-3 weeks for a constant supply of fresh leaves. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F). Seeds should germinate in 10-21 days.
Companion Planting Dill improves the health of cabbages and other Brassicas, and is a very good companion for corn, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Dill attracts ladybugs, lacewings, and the parasitoid wasps that feed on garden caterpillars. At the same time it repels aphids and spider mites. Avoid planting near carrots and tomatoes.