After quite a bit of time, I come to realize one thing. Whoever considers himself as a gardener, does this out of two things. He either grows vegetables for himself, or for others, which is normal. Dill is one of those plants you want to have, to keep your garden aromatic, and your meals exciting.
Because of that, here’s how to grow dill, so that you can try growing it, and I’m sure it will delight you as it is delighted me.
What Is Dill?
Although dill is known worldwide, there are some interesting facts about this aromatic plant. In case that you want to know, here are some of them.
As we can see, the main feature of dill is its adjustability. It seems to me as if it was growing out in the fields, and people started domesticating it, so we have it today as a herb, but it didn’t change much.
Which Tools Will Be Required?
Luckily, dill is not a demanding plant. It needs a bare minimum of maintenance, but still, this doesn’t mean that it can be left to grow by itself. If you are at least a beginner gardener, you will need tools to do proper maintenance. Since there are not much of them required, let’s get straight to it.
I believe that every gardener has a hoe and a watering hose. These two are already enough for essential jobs around dill. Those who want to grow it in a container can do this as well, and one larger pot or 5-gallon bucket will be needed.
Which Cultivar Should I Choose?
Depending on what do you want from your plant, you can choose from several varieties. For example, “Mammoth” and “Bouquet” are best known for producing great seed, and if you want to continue to save a few dollars in the following year, choose one of these two. “Dukat” and “Hercules” are famous for their fantastic taste, so if you prefer this from your plant, pick them.
Ultimately, if you want to grow dill in a container, there is no better for this purpose than “Fernleaf”, which reaches only 18”, so it is suitable for indoor growing and those places where there isn’t much space.
What About Location?
As I mentioned, dill requires full sun and dry land. However, finding this might be trickier than you thought.
Namely, dill is a somewhat fragile plant. Its height and thin stems make it very vulnerable to wind; if you leave it in the open, where there is enough sun, sudden wind can break it without much effort. To solve this, you can do two things.
1. Choose location which is at least partially shielded from wind
2. Provide enough support so that it won’t break
The second approach is somewhat better since you can rule out at least one difficulty. Just to be sure, it is perhaps the best to combine these two methods. Therefore, plant it next to a living fence, and provide support.
How To Prepare Ground?
In general, there isn’t too much you need to do, to prepare the soil for growing dill. You need first to see if it drains well. To do so, dig a hole about one foot in diameter, and two feet deep. Fill it with water, and see how much time it needs to empty. Everything longer than half a day (12 hours) will mean that you will have to improve the drainage.
To do so, you can either choose higher ground, make a raised bed, or if you can’t afford to landscape at the moment, try infusing sand. Just spread it with a shovel and till the ground thoroughly.
While you’re at it, you can add old manure. It is incredible for providing nutrients for dill, and since it is worn out, it won’t burn the plant. Moreover, manure and compost are known to retain moisture, so instead of evaporating, water will be absorbed by water.
How To Sow Dill?
Luckily, the principle of sowing is straightforward. You will need a piece of rope and a hoe. The first is just for aesthetic value, so if you have a steady hand, you don’t need to use it. As for time, somewhere between April and June is quite good.
Start by digging a trench about 1/2” deep. Distribute seed equally and cover it with soil. Now, apply water, so the ground settles, and the seeds get important water for germinating process to begin.
Don’t tread over seeded rows, since the stems are very sensitive, and will break easily. Instead, mark both ends of the rows with stakes, so that you know where they are.
For container growing, sow the seeds whenever you see fit. Conditions are excellent indoors, and you can control them. Just keep in mind that you need to provide enough sunlight for dill plants.
Also, dill is one of the rare plants which don’t stand to relocate. This means that once you plant them, there is no moving to other places. Because of that, you can’t start them indoors.
How To Care For Dill?
Since the sunlight cannot be affected regarding increasing, you need to look at different things.
Before doing anything else, see if the plants have grown too close to one another. Once they are about 10” high, thin them so that there are a few plants on every 12-18”. Keep them grouped, so that they will stand wind better.
Speaking of the wind, while thinning dill out, you can strike a stake next to a plant, and tie it loosely around the foliage. This will give it the support I was writing about earlier.
So, after these things are done, see that you remove all weeds as soon as they appear. These are highly competitive plants and will take every bit of nutrients they can get to. In long runs, this causes the dill to have stunted growth, and lousy harvest is imminent.
Watering is a major issue with the dill. You don’t want to overdo it, or to leave it to dry out. Therefore, see that the soil around it is wet, but not damp. Too much water and too often watering can cause several fungal diseases which I will list later.
Also, once the plants reach about two months, they should be ready for harvesting.
How To Harvest And Store Dill?
There is not much to know about harvesting, and it is not difficult to do.
About two months after planting, pick a few leaves and see if they are ready for cooking and using. Rub them between fingers and see if they release the aroma. Either pick the majority of leaves or harvest them as necessary.
Storing is also almost trivial. Just fill the ziplock bag with leaves and put it in the freezer. It can last for a couple of months in such terms.
In case that you want to harvest seeds, cut the flowers once they appear, and put them upside down in a paper bag. After drying, the seed will remain in the bag.
Are There Any Pests?
Beside weeds which are most common pests in every garden, and I don’t need to tell you that you should remove them as soon as they appear.
Of other pests, aphids and snails are often visitors in dill gardens. First are easy to deal with if you apply insecticidal soap, but I prefer natural ways. Ladybugs and lacewings are their natural enemies, so using them can be applied to those gardens which fall under “organic” category.
Snails are big, so setting cages above plants to prevent them from reaching is the right thing to do. Also, you can leave a plank close to the row, and after a few days, all the snails will gather under it. You can carry them to another place after that.
Too much water may cause several fungal diseases. When you see that leaves and stems are changing color, with yellowish or brown, this means that your plants are suffering from some sort of fungi. There is no absolute cure for this condition, and sulfur-based treatments are hit-and-miss solutions.
The only sure way to deal with this threat is to remove all infected plants and to rotate crops regularly.
So, this concludes this article. Now that you know how to grow dill, there is no reason for you not to try and grow it in your garden. They will undoubtedly enrich your garden and your meals. Just remember that your fish needs topping.
As always, feel free to use the comment section below in case that you have any advice, opinion or thought.