In the Garden
In addition to providing aromatic seeds and foliage, dill will brighten your garden with its yellow-green flowers in spring and fall. While typical dill grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet, Fernleaf dill is more compact, growing only 18 to 24 inches tall. It is a warm-season annual, but really loves mild weather–not too hot, not too cold. With its slender stem and delicate leaves, it makes a good mid- to back-of-the-border addition to your garden. Plant dill in a spot where it can easily reseed.
Dill likes direct sun and rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Use organic matter to enrich the soil before planting.This plant likes mild weather and is best in the spring and again in fall. You may set out transplants following the last spring frost and then plant again 2 months prior to the first winter frost. Be sure to keep plants watered in dry weather.
Plants may need staking when in bloom to keep the tall flower stems from falling over. Also if your garden is in a windy spot. You can keep plants cut to delay flowering, or harvest the whole plant as soon as the dill flowers. The first winter frost will kill dill planted in the fall. However, if it had time to go to seed, the fallen seed may produce new plants in the spring.
Plant dill far from fennel, since the cross-pollination of these herbs produces variable results. Dill, like parsley and fennel, draws the parsleyworm caterpillar, which is the larva of the black swallowtail butterfly. Plant enough to feed yourself and the caterpillars. Far from a pest, the butterflies are often encouraged by gardeners who plant dill and parsley in patches just to attract them.
Harvest dill foliage at any point between seedling and blooming stages. You may harvest the entire dill plant, preserving the foliage, as soon as the plant starts to flower and set seed. You can freeze leaves by snipping off an entire branch, putting it in a plastic bag, and storing it in the freezer. The flowers last a few days in a vase, too, if you’d like to display them, but be prepared to dust under them as they shatter.Harvest dill seeds as soon as they turn brown, before they fall to the ground. Snip the flower head from the stalk, then, in a warm, dry area, hang them upside-down in a paper bag. Once the seeds have dried and fallen into the bag, collect them for storage in an airtight container.
Dill seed is a pungent ingredient found in salad dressings, pickles, sauerkraut, and even breads. Enjoy the leaves at their peak when they are fresh, finely chopping for best flavor. Dill can be also a handy salt substitute for people on low-sodium diets.You can dry the leaves, but add them to dishes in greater quantity, as they are less flavorful than fresh leaves. Dill leaves may also be preserved in oil, butter, or vinegar for pickles or frozen in water or stock.
Why do you call your dill “fernleaf”? It looks like other dill I have grown.
What are these caterpillars on my dill, and how can I get rid of them?
I planted dill in the spring, but now it is dying. What happened?
I have lots of dill in my garden. How should I use it?