Common name: dill Botanical name: Anethum graveolens Origin: Southeast Europe
Few varieties are available; grow the variety available in your area. Bouquet is a dwarf variety.
Dill, a member of the parsley family, is a biennial grown as an annual and grows two to four feet tall. Dill has finely cut leaves and small yellow flowers growing in a fiat-topped cluster; it has a delicate feathery look and makes a good background for flowers or vegetables. Carrying a bag of dry dill over the heart is supposed to ward off the evil eye. Dill water was once used to quiet babies and get rid of gas.
Dill, like most herbs, can be grown pretty much anywhere, and can withstand heat or cold. Grow it from seed sown in the spring or fall. Once established, dill will seed itself and return year after year.
Poor, sandy soil is an advantage when you're growing dill — the herb will have stronger flavor — but the soil must drain well. Dill will tolerate partial shade; in light shade the plants won't get as bushy as in full sun, so they can be closer together. Plant the seeds two or three weeks before your average date of last frost in rows two to three feet apart; they germinate quickly. When the seedlings are growing well, thin them to 12 inches apart. You can also thin dill to form a clump or mass rather than a row. Make sure you know where you want the plants, because dill has a taproot and is not easy to transplant. Dill is short-lived, so make successive sowings to give you a continuous crop.
Fertilizing and watering
Fertilizing is unnecessary for dill. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essentia! Soil" in Parti.
It doesn't need too much water and seems to do better if it's kept on the dry side.
The stems are tall and fine; you may need to stake them.
Dili, like most herbs, is a good choice for the organic gardener. It's a member of the parsley family, so you may encounter a parsley caterpillar; hand-pick it off the plant.
Dill has no serious disease problems.
Time from planting to harvest is 70 days for foliage, 90 days for seeds. To harvest, snip off the leaves or young flower heads for use in soups or salads. For
pickling, cut whole stalks when the plant is more mature. Gather the mature seeds for planting (although the dill will do its own planting without your help if you leave it alone) or for drying.
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