DILL – Anethum Graveolens
In mid-summer, dill will produce large, flat topped yellow flower clusters with seeds that can be harvested for culinary use.
It is used most commonly in soups and stews and for pickling. Dill weed is easy to grow and attracts beneficial insects such as wasps and other predatory insects to your garden.
If you’re planting dill for pickling, plant every few weeks into midsummer to ensure a constant supply!
Diseases and Problems
n Anglo-Saxon England, as prescribed in Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England (also called Læceboc, many of whose recipes were borrowed from Greek medicinal texts), dill was used in many traditional medicines, including those against jaundice, headache, boils, lack of appetite, stomach problems, nausea, liver problems, and many other ills. Dill seeds can also be used to prepare herbal tea.
In ancient Greece fragrance was made from the leaves of dill. Also, athletes used to spread essence of dill all over their body, as muscle toner.
- Antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus
- Antimicrobial activity against Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- Sow dill seeds about ¼-inch deep and 18 inches apart in rich soil, then gently rake the seeds into the soil. The soil should be between 60 and 70ºF for best results.
- Dill weed does not grow well when transplanted, so start the seeds fresh in the garden in early summer. Make sure to shelter the plants from strong winds.
- After 10 to 14 days, the plants should appear in the soil. Wait another 10 to 14 days, then thin the plants to about 12 to 18 inches apart.
Dill performs best in a full sun location in moist, well-drained soil. Dill does best when it is directly sown in the garden, because the taproot system makes it difficult to transplant successfully. Sow the seeds in the spring one to two weeks before the last frost. Because dill reseeds readily, plants left in the garden in the fall will drop seeds that will germinate in the spring. To insure a fresh supply of dill leaves, make successive sowing of dill every two weeks through the growing season as plants decline soon after they start to flower (bolt).
Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially. It also prefers rich, well drained soil. The seeds are viable for three to ten years.
The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen. The seed heads are placed upside down in a paper bag and left in a warm, dry place for a week. The seeds then separate from the stems easily for storage in an airtight container.
- plant dill next to cabbage or onions, cucumbers and broccoli but keep it away from carrots and tomatoes..
Dill attracts many beneficial insects as the umbrella flower heads go to seed.
Both the foliage and seeds can be harvested for culinary purposes. Foliage can be cut at any time and used fresh, or it can be dried for later use. To harvest seed, allow the flowers to mature, usually 2-3 weeks after the blossoms appear. Cut the seed heads from the plants and place them in a brown paper bag. Hang in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Seeds will fall from the seed heads and be collected in the bag. Store in a sealed container.
- ‘Mammoth’ – Standard, tall, fresh use dill
- ‘Bouquet’ – More compact, dwarf form of ‘Mammoth’
- ‘Fernleaf’ – Dwarf plant, fine, dark-green leaves. Slow to go to seed
- ‘Dukat’ – Fine textured foliage, very strong flavor
- ‘Green Sleeves’ – Excellent fresh dill productions, resistant to bolting
- ‘Ella’ – Short, dense variety good for container gardening
- ‘Monia’ – Compact variety good for container gardening