How do you grow organic dill from seeds? Spring is almost here, and if you are interested in starting your own little dill garden, this is the best time to get right to it. If you are looking for information on how to grow organic dill from seeds, this how-to guide will give you comprehensive answers to all the questions that you have about dill gardening.
Dill seeds are the easiest means for growing organic dill. Dill seeds need light to germinate, so you would need to cover them lightly and space them out properly. You only need to sow them about ¼ inch (5mm) deep in rows 18 inches (45cm) apart.
Dill is a perennial self-seeding herb native to western Africa, southern Russia, and the Mediterranean. Dill belongs to the family of plants called Umbelliferae, which also includes other popular plants like parsley and cumin. It is easy to plant and has so many uses and benefits, making it a top choice for anyone with green fingers.
Dill is planted for its flat, tan seeds and foliage leaves commonly used as dried or fresh herbs to flavor foods like soups, dips, salads, and many more. The seeds can also be used to add flavor to roasts and stews or as a pickling spice. Sometimes, you can find dills as a filler for flower arrangements too.
Growing Dill Quick Guide
- You can grow dill indoors, especially if you don’t have enough space outside for your garden. Just make sure to provide enough sunlight.
- The best type of soil for growing dill is well-drained, rich in organic matter, and slightly acidic.
- Sow the dill seeds directly into the ground the plants would grow on.
- Dills are rarely bothered by diseases or pests.
- Planted dills can tolerate frost but cannot survive freezing.
- You can harvest the green foliage of the dill plant at any time until the flower clusters bloom.
- Cut the flower stalks just before the seeds ripen and turn a tan color to harvest dill seeds.
Here is a comprehensive table to show all the requirements that you would need to grow a healthy dill garden.
|Botanical name||Anethum graveolens|
|Type of plant||Herb|
|Best season for planting||Spring|
|Maturity time||40-70 days|
|Planting method||Direct Sowing|
|Soil type||Loamy, Sandy|
|Sun exposure||Direct Sunlight|
|Spacing between plants||18 inches|
|Good plant companions||Cabbage, Onions|
What Are The Different Varieties Of Dill
The different dill varieties will help you choose the best seeds to plant based on your needs and requirements. Some of the most common varieties of dill include:
- Long Island and Mammoth
The bouquet variety of the dill plant is probably the most common type. It is grown for its spicy and aromatic seeds and leaves used in both pickling and cooking. It gets its name from its tall stems and big, bright yellow flowers that make it a good filler for flower bouquets.
This is a small type of dill plant that can be grown in containers. The foliage’s green color is brighter than that of any other variety. It is most commonly used for salads.
This variety of dill plants contains more essential oils than any other type. It is slow to flower and can grow up to 5 feet tall at maturity.
Of all the varieties, delikat yields the most seeds and has very dense foliage. It can grow 10-24 inches tall at maturity.
Long Island and Mammoth
It grows to an average height of 3 feet but, in the right conditions, can reach 6 feet at maturity. Its large and flavorful leaves are mostly used to flavor and garnish fish.
Herkules also take time to flower and can grow to a height of 3 feet at maturity. The downside is that the leaves tend to lose flavor and become coarser the older they get, so you might need to harvest when the plant is younger, and the leaves are still tender.
Vierling takes the longest to bolt than any other variety, making it a good option if you want to harvest dill leaves all summer long. It has dark blue leaves and thick stems and can be used in flower arrangements. It reaches a height of 36-60 inches at maturity.
This is another common dwarf variety of dill. They only reach about 18 inches at maturity. The leaves are fern-like, as the name implies. They can be grown in a container as ornaments or cut for flower arrangements.
How to Prepare the Plant Site for Growing Dill
Dills are very sensitive to the kind of environment you plant them in, so you have to make sure that your plant site can meet all of the requirements needed to make your plant grow to a healthy height.
Please choose the right location, as it plays a big role in determining how well your dill plant grows. Dill needs about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow well. Whatever location you choose for your dill garden should be able to provide direct sunlight. It should also provide shelter from strong winds as they could blow away the stalks if not staked.
You should also get your soil tested to see if it meets up the requirements for growth. The best soil for dill to grow in is a slightly acidic, well-drained, organic matter rich soil.
You can also plant dill indoors, so long as you can provide at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Alternatively, you can also use 12 hours of fluorescent light. However, direct sunlight is better.
The pots should be relatively deep, with holes at the bottom for good drainage. Also, stake the plant because indoor dill plants tend to grow taller and spindlier than outdoor ones due to the lower exposure to sunlight.
How to Plant Dill Seeds
Although dill seeds are relatively temperature hardy and can withstand cold, it is best to sow them after spring frost must have passed.
- Sow the seeds directly on the soil where you want the plants to grow.
- Sow the seeds in ¼ inch deep rows set 18-24 inches apart. Alternatively, you can broadcast the seeds over a 2 feet square bed and gently rake them into the soil.
- When the young dill plants are about 2 inches high, thin them to stand 12-18 inches apart.
- Spread out your sowing a few weeks apart, so you get an endless supply of fresh dill leaves all summer. For an extended harvest, do not allow the flowers to bloom on the plants.
- Constantly remove weeds from the soil and keep it relatively moist.
- Water the plants frequently while growing so they don’t dry out.
- Dill, like most herbs, does not require constant fertilization. You can apply a 5-10-5 fertilizer once during late spring at a rate of 3 ounces per every 10 feet row. Indoor dills require liquid fertilizers at half the recommended strength every 4-6 weeks.
- If you allow your plants to go to seed and don’t disturb the soil too much, you should have more dill plants next spring.
- You can plant dill next to cabbage or onions as they make good companion plants, but not carrots.
How To Harvest Dill
Dill leaves are usually ready for harvesting 6-8 weeks after planting. You can harvest them anytime during the season until the flower clusters open. When you are ready to harvest your dill leaves, be on the lookout for the dark green ones called the ‘dill weed.’ Remember that dill loses its flavor the older it gets, so if you harvest the leaves for cooking, focus on young leaves for better flavor.
Once harvested, dill leaves can quickly lose their flavor. Make sure to use them soon after picking to maintain their freshness and flavor.
On the other hand, the seeds are ready to harvest before they ripen and become tan in color. To collect the seeds, gather the flower heads after the seeds have formed. Tie the stems together and hang the plant upside down in a warm, airy space away from direct sunlight.
Once the flowers have died and the plants have dried up, shake them into a paper bag to collect the seeds. As long as the seeds remain dry, you can store them in airtight containers away from heat and direct sunlight for up to a year.
The Last Word On Growing Organic Dill From Seed
Dill is an important herb with many uses. As a result, it is finding its way into many homes and gardens. It is easy to grow and requires only basic care, maintenance, and interference. All you need is a good light source, ambient temperature, a little fertilizer, and water, and you reap a bountiful harvest of dill seeds and leaves.
Dill Plant FAQs
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac
- University of Minnesota Extension
- Planet Natural Research Centre
- West Coast Seeds
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
- University of Illinois Extension