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Dill is a a very attractive, feathery herb grown both for its leaves and its seeds. It is also a good food source for beneficial insects. The leaves are best eaten before the plant runs to seed. The leaves have a delicate tangy flavour and a wonderful aroma which goes really well with fish, eggs, and poultry. Best used fresh and added towards the end of any cooking process. The aroma and attractive feathery texture makes it one of the best garnishes in the kitchen. It is particularly good in salad dressings and in oils and butters, or through cream cheese. Smoked salmon without dill is like a martini without an olive.
Planting / Sowing
Dill is frost tender, so plant after the last spring frosts. You can plant seedlings, but seed is also easy and cheap to use. When planting, keep in mind they are a tallish herb which blow over easily, so in the middle or back of the herb/vegie garden is best. The seed will germinate after 10-14 days. If you want an extended harvesting period, then sow seed every two weeks for 6 weeks. Dill seeds are small, so only need to cover lightly with soil and keep moist. Plant in a position which will get at least half a day’s sun. A mildly acidic to neutral soil is best.
Each plant grows between 40-70cm tall from a single tap root, the flower heads shoot up another 20cm or so. They have hollow stems and tend to blow over easily in the wind, so either grow in a nice self-supporting clump or stake. Keep moist (mulching is good). Will grow until it is cut down by frost.
You can start picking leaves once there are several fronds (commonly within 6-8 weeks of planting). Pick the leaves until flower heads develop, and it is best used within a day of picking.