Grow Your Own

Dill

Dill is a large annual or biennial herb with ferny foliage that is topped with sprays of yellow flower in summer. The strongly flavoured leaves can be chopped into soups, salads or used to flavour rice. Seeds are often used as ingredient in curry powder. This statuesque plant is ideally suited to growing in the middle of a border, its leaves providing a feathery foil for other plants.

Dill

Sow

Dill hates having its roots being disturbed or being transplanted, so sow in-situ, either into pots or the ground where it is to grow.

Start dill off from seed anytime between mid-spring and mid-summer. Prepare the soil well, choosing a fertile, open site in full sun. Sow seeds thinly in shallow, 1cm (½in) deep, rows and cover lightly with soil. Thin seedlings when large enough to handle to 15cm (6in) apart.

Alternatively, sow seeds thinly in large pots filled with multi-purpose compost, including peat free media. Thin seedlings to 10cm (4in) apart when large enough to handle.

Grow

Do not allow soil or compost to dry out. Water plants regularly, especially during hot, dry summers, but do not over water.

Support plants with garden canes or twiggy sticks to prevent them toppling over in a gust of wind.

Avoid growing dill near fennel, as the two can cross breed resulting in undesirable seedlings with poor flavour.

Hoe around plants to prevent weeds from competing or smothering the growth of dill.

Common problems

Aphids

Aphids: Look for colonies of greenfly on the soft shoot tips of plants or on leaves. They suck sap and excrete sticky honeydew, encouraging the growth of black sooty moulds.

Remedy: Use your finger and thumb to squash aphid colonies or use biological control in the greenhouse.

More info on Aphids

Slugs and snails

Slugs and snails: These feed on the young seedlings and you'll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.

Remedy: There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape and biocontrols.

More info on Slugs and snails

Bolting

Bolting: Plants flower and set seed prematurely.

Remedy: Unless growing for seed sow bolt-resistant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist.

More info on Bolting

Harvesting

Cut leaves as required during spring and summer. They can either be used fresh or frozen and dried for used over winter. Seeds can be gathered when they start to turn brown and ripen in late summer – cut stalks and hang upside down inside a paper bags or place on a sheet of paper until they dry and fall off. Separate them from bits of stalk and store in air tight containers. Seeds can be used ground or whole.

Picking young leaves regularly will help to keep plants productive and delay flowering.

Varieties

Bouquet’:

Best for seeds.

Dukat’:

Vigorous, slow to bolt and great flavoured leaves.

Fernleaf’:

Dwarf and bushy, this only grows to 45cm (18in) making perfect for pots.

Herkules’:

Reaching 1.2m (4ft), this is a tall plant with masses of long-lasting leaves.

Mammoth’:

Grows up to 90cm (3ft), good for seed production.


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Do now

  • Cut down growth
  • Compost

Month by month

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Harvest

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