How to Grow, Plant, and Harvest Dill
Botanically known as Anethum graveolens, dill goes far back to ancient times being used as a culinary herb and for medical purposes. In ancient times soldiers would apply dill seeds to wounds for healing.
The Greeks use dill as a symbol of wealth, the Romans used dill leaves in the wreaths they made to honor heroes and athletes and also believed that dill brought good fortune. The ancient Egyptians used dill as a soothing medicine, to ward off witches and also used in aphrodisiacs.
Dill belongs to the family Apiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean region, Western Africa, and southern Russia. Dill is a self-seeding annual plant with green leaves that are feathery. For more on growing dill plants let’s take a closer look.
Dill Planting location
The ideal location when planting dill is in and area that gets the full sun.
Dill soil requirements and planting depth
A slightly acidic to neutral soil that is rich in organic matter will meet dill soil requirements. Sow dill seeds about 18 inches apart and at a depth of ¼-inch. Your dill seeds will sprout and emerge from the soil in about 2 weeks’ time or thereabout.
Dill water requirements
The soil should be kept evenly moist especially during the hotter or dry months however do not overwater or have soils that are soggy which can lead to plant decline.
Dill fertilizer requirements
In the late spring feeding your dill once with a 5-10-5 fertilizer will provide the needed nutrients. Fertilizers can be broadcast over the surface of the planting bed.
Growing dill in a pot
A pot 8- to 12-inches-in diameter and 12-inch deep is ideal, the pot should have drain holes for water drainage. Good soil is ideal, once you have placed the potting soil in the pot leave about three inches from the top free of the potting soil.
Sprinkle about 4 dill seeds on the potting soil surface, the seeds should next be covered with ¼-inch of potting soil. Place the pot in an area that is free from heavy winds but gets a least 6 hours of sunlight. The seeds should be kept moist at all times.
Germination should take place in about 7 days to 10 days, once the seedlings reach 4 t0 6 inches tall thin the pot back to one plant. The soil should be evenly moist not waterlogged, every 4 weeks fertilizer your dill plants with a balanced soluble fertilizer at half strength. Before fertilizing read the manufacturer’s label.
Growing dill indoors
Follow the above direction under growing dill in pots, the only difference is bringing the pot indoors and placing it in an area that gets 6 hours of sunlight. If natural indoor lighting is poor then providing artificial lighting will do just as well. Incandescent or Led grow lighting will work.
Dill garden insect pests
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests.
- Parsley worm
Aphids will pay your garden a visit seeking to make a meal out of your dill but what is great about dill is this herb has been known to attract lots of beneficial insects such as ladybugs, mealybug destroyer, green lacewings, braconid wasps, hoverflies, aphid midges and tachinid flies that will feed on aphids.
The larvae will feed on your dill plant, these pests are active during nighttimes but during the day hours if you dig in the soil they can be seen in a curled C-shape. The use of diatomaceous earth placed around dill will bring control.
Parsley worms are known not to be that serious of a threat and can be handpicked however these worms will molt into black beautiful swallowtail butterflies.
The larva feeds heavily on the foliage and reproduces rapidly producing 3-5 generations in a single year. The use of Bacillus thuringiensis will bring control, read and follow the manufactures label.
Dill has its share of disease but can be controlled with these methods.
- Powdery mildew
- Downy mildew
- Cercospora leaf blight fungus
Powdery mildew appears as a white powdery substance on the leaves and the stalk. This fungal disease encourages distorted blossoms and chlorotic leaves. Moderate temperature and humid weather are favorable for this disease. Applying fungicides as a protective measure, avoid over-fertilizing, and applying sulfur early in the season when the disease is spotted will bring control.
Damping-off which is encouraged by a fungus affects the seeds and the seedlings, seeds rot or the seedlings that germanates but then rots and dies. These fungal spores can spread by infected tools, soil, and water.
To avoid this disease, use a good quality seed stock, don’t plant in poorly drained soil, planting in a raised bed will aid in drainage.
Symptoms of downy mildew include yellow spots on the foliage followed by a growth on the underside of the leaves that is fluffy and white. As this disease persists the yellow spots begin to darken, this disease is encouraged by leaves that are constantly wet. Avoid overcrowding plants, crop rotation, and using disease-free seeds will discourage downy mildew.
Cercospora leaf blight fungus
Cercospora leaf blight fungus appears as small flecks which develop a yellowish halo that appears on the leaves turning brown. The infected leaves will eventually wither and die, crop rotation, the use of disease-free seeds, the use of fungicides, and removing crop debris will bring control.
Once dill produces 4-5 leaves you can begin to harvest, with a successor harvest the older leaves or remove pinching.
How to dry dill?
Dill can be dried by hanging upside down in a bundle, this process should take about 1-2 weeks. Once the herbs feel crispy or crumble when a little pressure is applied is another sign that dill is dry.
How to store dill?
When the leaves are completely dry crush or crumble place in a tightly concealed container jar in a dark cool area. Dill can last up to 4-6 months.
The final word on growing dill plants
There you have it in a nutshell growing dill is that easy to grow, care for, and harvest so if you are interested in a herb that is worth the investment then the dill plant is the herb for you. Give dill a try in your home garden you will be so happy that you did.