Dill is a herb that grows quickly and that you can cultivate as an annual. Dill plants like to self-sow so while it is an annual you may find that it springs up in the same area year after year. It is a member of the Apiaceae family and comes from the Mediterranean region. It can also take over parts of your garden like a weed. Dill famously provides the dill pickle flavor, but you can also use it in fish dishes, on meat, and in potato salad. It is possible to use the dry herb, but the flavor is strongest when fresh. The seeds are useful too — add them to soups, stews, and other long-cooking dishes.
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How to grow dill
Start dill indoors in potting soil or seed starting mix. Keep temperatures in the sixties but don’t go too high above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect seeds to germinate between two and three weeks of sowing. Transplanting dill is not always successful because of its long, delicate taproot, so you may want to try sowing the seeds directly instead. Transplanted dill may go to seed immediately or die.
Sow dill seeds by sprinkling them on the surface of the soil and pressing them in or lightly covering them with soil. Don’t cover them completely since light is essential for their germination.
Plant outdoor dill in a sunny part of your garden after your area’s last frost. Dill can tolerate heat, but you may want to plant it in a location with some shade if where you live is prone to high temperatures.
Thin the dill seedlings out to about one every 12 inches once they grow to two inches tall.
Stake indoor dill plants. They are likely to grow even taller and more spindly than outdoor ones because they lack adequate light.
How much sunlight does dill need?
A good location for dill should get at least six hours of sunlight daily. Along with sunlight, take exposure to wind and rain into account, since dill plants can easily blow over since their stalks are tender and hollow. You will need the soil to drain well.
Place indoor dill containers in an area where they get lots of sunlight. If you can’t give dill plants at least five hours of sunlight, try placing them under grow lights.
How much water does dill need?
Water outdoor and indoor dill regularly if you want the leaves but don’t go overboard. Regular watering combined with pruning will keep dill from flowering and going to seed, but it doesn’t like waterlogged soil. Water a fully established dill plant only when the soil’s surface is dry.
Harvest dill two months after sowing. Harvest often to prevent bolting but remove no more than a third of the plant to ensure that it continues to thrive. If you want a constant supply of dill, sow new seeds every three weeks to keep the cycle going. Harvest dill flower heads when the plant goes to seed. Dry them in a food dehydrator or hang them in a location with minimal humidity and moving air.
You can also place them in a paper bag that you tie around the stalks. Hang the dill by the stalks. Some of the seeds will fall off into the bag when dill dries. When the dill is fully dried, shake the bag to release the rest of the seeds.