The Delightful Dill Plant

What you need to know about growing and harvesting dill, as well as a couple recipes for cooking with dill.

| Spring 2018

Dill is delightful, versatile, aromatic, and delicious. In the past, it was primarily used for preserving dill pickles. However, dill is an herb that has grown in popularity in recent years, and is now not just used in canning, but also in main dishes, salads, and sides.

For home gardeners, more good news is that dill is easy to grow, harvest, preserve, and reseed from your own plants. Even a novice gardener can have great success with this flavorful herb — and once you have your own little patch of dill in the garden, you can enjoy experimenting with it in all kinds of recipes.

Growing and Harvesting Dill

Dill is easy to grow in all kinds of soils, and in all different climate zones. Simply sow the seeds in a row 1/4 inch deep, about 18 inches apart. Rake the soil over the seeds, and water gently.

Dill seeds take to warmer soil — between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is best. In northern climates, that means sowing the seeds in late spring or early summer.

As the plant matures throughout the summer, you can harvest fresh dill by simply snipping off a frond or two with kitchen scissors. You'll notice that the sweet, distinctive smell will become stronger as you cut the plant. The flavor from the herb will also be released as you tear off the small leaves of the frond and add it to your cooking.

If you want to preserve the dill leaves, harvest the plants before they go to seed. Just take the dill plant and hang it upside down in a dry area of your home, or on the porch. Alternatively, you can snip off the individual fronds, wash them, and allow them to dry on paper towels. After a few days, the leaves will be dry and ready to be stored in clean bottles or sealed bags for future use. Be sure to store dried dill away from the light to maintain its color and flavor.

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