Dill is a popular annual, self-cultivating plant with feathery green leaves. It is most often used in soups and stews or for pickling (as in Dill Cucumbers).

Interestingly, I live in a village called Dilham, in the wilds of Norfolk. The village got its name because it grew Dill on a commercial basis in olden times. That shows how widely used it used to be and is still a popular herb in cooking. I have no idea what they used it for in that amount all those years ago to warrant it being grown in such quantities.

I digress…

Dill is not difficult to develop if you are planting Dill for pickling, plant like clockwork in mid-summer to ensure a steady supply when collection begins! To create an endless supply of herb, let a portion of the plant’s flower and seed each year – that way, you’ll have plenty of early plants to start the season. 

In addition, Dill attracts beneficial creepy crawlies like wasps and other wild bugs to your nursery and is a host plant for the Dark Swallowtail butterfly (as a caterpillar).

Sowing Dill

The ideal approach to plant this wonderful herb in your nursery is to develop it from seed instead of putting out transplants. This is because it is anything but a long, delicate taproot that joins a few other gardening staples like carrots and beetroots that don’t actually like the idea of being relocated. However, when Dill is successfully transplanted, it will usually shoot quickly – that is, on the off chance that it doesn’t just kick the bucket. I found this out last year, when I grew a lot of it, then transplanted them into my herb garden once the frosts had passed. They all died. Lesson learned.

So save yourself from doing the same thing that I did, and go the best route by planting the herb from seed. When you feel that the time is about right to plant your seeds, here’s how to do it: plan to sow your seeds 2-3 weeks before the last frosts of spring. 

Establish your soil by mixing in some fertilizer and gently moistening it. Gently press the seeds into the earth. Dill seeds need light to sprout or germinate, so they should either be left uncovered on the surface or delicately covered with soil, about 1/8 of an inch. Plant a cluster of 3 seeds every 4-6 inches, in lines 12 inches (30 cm) apart. Give the ground a gentle watering each day until the seedlings emerge. Just so you know, germination can take 10-14 days, or sometimes longer. When the seedlings producing their first leaves at a few centimetres tall, daintily separate the more vigorously growing plants from the more fragile ones so that there is one plant every 4 inches – like you would do with carrots.

If you live in a dry environment, developing your plants 4 inches (10 cm) apart will work exceptionally well. In any case, if you reside in a wetter climate like mine, leave a little more room, i.e., 4 – 6″ (10 – 15 cm) between each plant, all things equal. Setting up plants with some extra space will take into account better air dispersal and help prevent disease while still allowing you to bolster your collection.


Growing Dill

Water your plants evenly and consistently until they emerge from the ground. Once established, the herb develops best when the soil is nearly dry between each watering. Prepare planting beds with mature fertilizer. Fertilize the plants with manure tea a few times during the development period. Keep the planting bed weed-free all around; weeds go after supplements and water. Your plants can grow tall and fuzzy; they might benefit from staking in herb gardens that are exposed to a frequent breeze. Continue to maintain the beds weed-free. Squeeze out early flowers if leaf development is delayed.

Harvesting Dill

Dill develops outdoors about 90 days after being grown. Although the leaves can be harvested when they are large enough to use, they contain the most flavour if picked before flowering begins. Clip them near the stem in the early morning or late evening. As the flowers become structured, they will sprout and form seeds. Cut the seeds three weeks after germination. Put the cuttings in paper or plastic wrappers and let them dry. The seeds will easily shake out when they are ready.

Common Problems

In most cases, Dill is more enticing to helpful insects like pollinators than to dangerous ones, making it a decent ally in the nursery. Take care of the plant properly, and you are good to go. There is nothing complex to do to protect these excellent plants.

Here are some great recipes that make use of Dill from BBC Good Food

There are around a dozen varieties of dill in total. Here is a selection of good ones:

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06/20/2021 | Herbs | 0 Comments

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