Organic Dill: Anethum graveolens
- Quick growing, annual feathery leaved herb
- Versatile plant used for culinary and ornamental purposes
- Sow: Indoors all year round, Outdoors after the last frost in sunny fertile soil.
- Harvest: Leaves from 10-12 weeks from sowing & flowers from 3 months after sowing
Dill is a versatile plant grown that once tasted fresh you'll never go back to the dried tasteless shop-bought products. Grown for the kitchen as well as the flower bed, with its fern-like foliage being both tasty and decorative as well as its flowers and seeds being a favourite in Indian and Eastern European cuisine. The leaves have a mild aniseed aroma and flavour, although not as strong as fennel.
Dill belongs to the Apiaceae/Umbelliferae family a relative of anise, caraway, cumin, and fennel. It is a quick growing annual herb with a straight stalk that grows to between 40 – 50 cm. The flowers are usually yellow star-like flowers and are very attractive to beneficial insects like hoverflies. The flower heads go on to produce seed which is used as an Indian spice.
Sow: Sow outdoors successionally from Spring through Summer or sow indoors at any time of year. The plants do not like to be disturbed so sowing in its final position or pot is recommended. Sowing outdoors after the last frost in a sheltered sunny, well prepared fertile, soil in a drill 1cm deep, 25cm apart. Thinning to 25cm following germination (2 weeks) and 5cm in height.
Grow: In containers, use a deep container to accommodate the long roots, support with canes and keep well watered to avoid bolting. If keeping indoors, place the plants in a sunny position but out of direct sunlight and away from radiators. It is fast growing and short lived so succession sow as required.
Planting directly outside make sure the ground has been well dug over with loose organic matter (1 1/2 spade deep) - if the long roots hit solid soil it will cause bolting.
Harvest: Leaves - 10-12 weeks from sowing, flowers - 3 months from sowing, seeds - 4-5 months from sowing. As it grows snip the foliage at the point where it emerges from the stalk. Dill leaves will continue to be produced throughout the growing season and will keep for up to 3 weeks in a fridge.
At the end of growing season the foliage will stop and flowers will appear. Removing the flowers will extend foliage production but if you want to grow for seeds, allow to flower and pick the subsequent seed pods, hanging these upside down in a paper bag to dry. Dill is effective at self-seeding so take care to remove the seed pods quickly.