Eager to learn how to grow dill? Well, you have good reason. Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a cool season annual herb that has a feathery look similar to fennel, and is extremely easy to grow (with the right precautions). Unlike most herbs, this underused annual is light and airy. It’s so light, in fact, that it almost feels like moss in your hands. And, although it is mainly used for its seeds (which are used for pickling), fresh dill makes a fantastic addition to salad greens, potato salad and fresh fish dishes.
When planting dill in your garden, do the following:
- Plant dill seeds in rich, well-drained soil with full sun exposure.
- Avoid planting dill near fennel, as the two easily cross-pollinate.
- Sow in spring, early summer or later summer (for a late crop), using shallow drills that are 1 cm – 1/2 in deep.
- Water well and evenly.
- If possible, don’t move your plants once they’re firmly rooted. You can thin your seedlings once but after that try to let this skinny herb be. Dill doesn’t transplant very well.
- Thin seedlings from 6 to 12 inches apart.
- If you don’t want your dill to self-sow, either don’t let it go to seed (by watering it well and keeping it from getting too hot) or collect seeds (see below) before they can fall.
- If high winds and/or strong weather is normal for your area, use garden stakes to protect this rather fragile herb.
Prolific and easy to grow, harvesting dill is a breeze.
- To harvest it fresh, snip leaves as the herb grows. Fresh dill can be dried, frozen or used straight away.
- To harvest dill seeds, wait until the seed heads are brown (which is usually in the late summer or fall). Then, wrapping a paper bag around the top of the herb and securing the bottom of the bag around its stem, shake the plant until the seeds dislodge. Carefully remove bag and store seeds in a cool, dry place.
For general specifications for growing dill (like preferred soil pH, planting depths and germination rates), check out the Gardening Guides page.