How to Plant Dill
Dill seeds are small, oblong, and easy to plant.
- Season: The dill growing season is usually early spring through the late summer. Plant dill in spring after the last frost of the season. The ideal soil temperature for dill is between 60 and 70°F.
- Location: You can plant dill directly outdoors; since it doesn’t transplant well, it’s best to avoid starting seedlings inside. Plant your dill seeds in full sun to ensure healthy growth.
- Soil: Most soil types will accommodate dill, regardless of soil pH. Dill needs ample room to grow, but it’s otherwise not a demanding herb. Dill doesn’t require particularly rich soil, but it does need extra water and fertilizer if planted in a container.
- Spacing: Sow dill seeds about 12 inches apart and a quarter of an inch under the soil. Once dill weed has reached six to eight inches high, you may need to thin out plants to again ensure that your dill plants are spaced about 12 inches apart.
How to Grow and Care for Dill
There are a number of dill varieties including Fernleaf, Superdukat, and Mammoth.
Regardless of which variety of dill you decide to grow, these general tips will apply:
- Water: What frequently when your dill plants are young and developing their taproots. Once the plants are mature, allow the soil to dry in between waterings. Dill plants need more water during particularly hot weather.
- Pests: Dill attracts relatively few pests other than the black swallowtail caterpillar. These caterpillars usually only consume a small amount of dill and rarely cause significant problems. Handpicking is the best way to get rid of black swallowtail caterpillars.
- Companion plants: Many gardeners plant dill as a companion plant because of its tendency to attract beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other pests.
How to Harvest Dill
You can harvest dill leaves at any point during the dill growth cycle. Dill flowers usually bloom after eight weeks of growth, at which point the plant stops producing foliage. Most people use only the fresh leaves from dill plants in their cooking, but dill flower heads (called umbels) are also edible. If you’re planning on harvesting dill seeds, wait until the plants start to turn brown—but don’t wait too long, or the seeds will start to disperse and self-sow.
Fresh dill will keep for two to three weeks if stored in the refrigerator and even longer when frozen in a plastic bag. You can add dill to a wide variety of dishes. Make dill pickles by adding vegetables to a salty brine with fresh dill.
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