The herb Dill is delectable. Sweet and aromatic and always best when freshly harvested from the garden. If ever the term 'best if home-grown' were to apply to an item in the kitchen, dill would be it.
Dill 'Tetra' is grown primarily for its abundant foliage, producing much more foliage before forming seed than most varieties. It is one of the best for fresh leaf production and stands up well to the strain of intense cultivation. The flavour is intermediate between anise and caraway.
The fruits (called 'dill seeds') which impart a sharper flavour, are used as a spice, while the fernlike herb leaves (usually referred to as either 'dill weed' or 'baby dill'), especially when fresh, have a sweeter fragrance.
Dill enhances the flavours of a dish as well as compliments other herbs when combined. It is exceptional with vegetables, fish and mustard based dressings or sauces, lamb, potato and peas. The seeds and herb are also a flavourful addition to breads and other baked goods and for those on a salt free diet, the seed makes an excellent stand-in for salt – it is a complete culinary treasure.
Easy to germinate and cultivate, dill causes few problems for novice gardeners. It is a very attractive plant, whether container grown or in a garden bed.
Sow outdoors successionally from spring through summer or sow indoors at any time of year
Growing Dill in Container:
Dill is especially suited to container growing, either indoors or outdoors.
Sow seed in clumps in 7cm (3in) pots. Use moist seed compost, cover with a fine layer of compost and keep the pots well watered. Transplant into larger pots when 15cm (6in) tall - No later as the plant's long taproot resists transplanting. If keeping indoors, place the plants in a sunny position but out of direct sunlight and away from radiators. Support with a stake.
Sowing Directly Outdoors:
Prepare the soil by digging to a spade and a half depth. The long tap roots of dill need to be able to grow without hitting solid soil. Incorporate some long lasting fertiliser, such as bonemeal, at the rate of two handfuls per square metre (yard).
Sow thinly in April, covering with only a fine layer of soil. The seedlings will emerge in two weeks or so, and should be thinned to 24cm (9in) apart. Further sowings can be made during the spring and early summer to extend the harvest time.
Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially.
Keep the plants weed free. The long tapered roots of dill will ensure that it is unlikely to need watering in all but the most extreme dry conditions.
Pinch the leaves down to the base of the plant until the plants are about 12cm (5in) high. As it grows snip the fronds at the point where they are emerging from the stalk.
Near the end of the growing season, the plant will send up flowers, this will cause leaf production to stop. If only leaves are required remove the flowers. If you want to harvest the seeds, allow the flowers to open and begin to turn brown before trimming them off. Bundle the heads together and place into a paper bag securing it closed around the stems with a rubber band. Allow the flowers to dry then shake the seeds loose within the bag so that it will catch them. If you would prefer to have a longer season for your dill weed, simply snip off the flower buds as they form so the plant can put its energy into foliage production
Remember to add dill at the end of cooking, because cooking will destroy most of its flavour. Be sparing with seeds - or it may overwhelm other flavours.
Dill leaves will keep well in the fridge for about three weeks, and stored in the freezer in individual portions. Seeds can be used whole or crushed in a mill or coffee grinder. The dried seeds keep indefinitely when kept out of sunlight in an airtight container.
Dill improves growth and health of cabbage and is a best friend for lettuce.
Good Companions: Cabbage, Lettuce, Onions, Sweetcorn and Cucumbers.
Dill does attract the tomato horn worm so it would be wise to plant it somewhere away from your tomato plants. Plants intended for seed for planting should not be grown near fennel as the two species can hybridise.
Bad Companions Tomatoes, Carrots Caraway Lavender and Fennel
Dill seeds contain carvone as an essential oil. Dill is considered carminative, stomachic and slightly stimulant.
Dill tea / water is given to children for digestive problems. Also it “destroyeth the hiccups” (!)
Correctly stored, seeds are viable for 3 to 10 years.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 4 grams Average Seed Count 2,500 Seeds Seeds per gram 650 seeds/gm Common Name Baby Dill, Dill Seed, Dill Fruit Other Common Names Previously marketed as Dill 'Dukat' Family Apiaceae Genus Anethum Species graveolens Cultivar Tetra Synonym Peucedanum graveolens Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers Yellow flower umbels in mid-summer Foliage Feathery and fernlike, dark blue-green Height 40 to 60cm (16-24in) Spread 30cm (12in) Position Requires a sunny location Soil Most soils Notes Correctly stored, the seeds are viable for 3 to 10 years.