Attractive and flavorful, home herb gardeners are growing dill (Anethum) for its seeds and feathery foliage commonly used with fish and fowl. Its large fragrant heads are great for making dill pickles, spicing up summer salads or as a unique addition to flower bouquets. Foliage is abundant and long-lasting. Self-seeding annual grows 3-4 feet tall.
Prefers full sun, regular water and rich well drained soil. Loosen soil to a depth of 8-12 inches and work in a handful or two of organic fertilizer. Plants grow vigorously and will readily volunteer each year from dropped seeds. Dill is frost-tolerant but will not do well in prolonged freezing temperatures.
How to Plant:
Sow seeds outdoors early in the spring when the ground has warmed. Start with a band of seeds 6 inches wide and 3-4 feet long. Place seeds just beneath the surface of the soil. If you are growing dill for seeds, thin to 6-12 inches apart in rows or beds.
Tip: Sow dill several times throughout the growing season to ensure a constant source.
When harvesting dill you can either pick the leaves or wait for the seeds. Begin harvesting leaves approximately 8-10 weeks after planting. Cut the tender feathery leaves close to the stem. The flavor of dill foliage is best before the flower head develops and when used the same day it is cut. Collect seeds as the flower heads start to mature.
Insects and Disease:
Dill does not have many serious problems with insects or diseases. Watch for tomato hornworm and apply Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or spinosad, if necessary.
Seed Saving Instructions:
Dill will cross-pollinate, so only one type should be grown if you intend to save for seed, or can be isolated by 1/4 of a mile. Dill tends to go to seed very early and seed heads can be harvested when dry. Seeds can then be separated very easily by hand.