Dill is a herbaceous annual with pinnately divided leaves. The ripe, light brown seeds emit an aromatic odour. The leaves have pleasant aromatic odour and warm taste. Both seeds and leaves are valued as spice. European Dill (Anetheum graveolens) is indigenous to Europe and is cultivated in England, Germany, Romania, Turkey, USA and Russia. The Indian dill (Anetheum sowa), a native of Northern India is bolder than the European dill. It is cultivated as a cold weather crop in many parts of India.
HOW TO GROW
- Select the seeds from a nursery or garden center or collect some from someone who has dill growing.Dill is very easily grown from seed sown in later spring to early summer. Bear in mind that dill does not transplant well, and is best being sown direct where it will continue to grow. Select an area where permanent regrowth of dill won’t bother you; dill will easily self-sow after you’ve first planted it.
- Select an area of the garden that is both dry and sunny.Dill favors poor soil provided it is well-drained. Moreover, the best growth occurs in direct sunlight – feathery leaves and umbels of yellow flowers.
Sow seeds into shallow furrows in tilled soil. Water well but do not soak the soil.
Thin out the seedlings to about 15cm/6″ to 30cm/12″ apart. Do this when they reach approximately 5cm (2″) in height.
- Water well.This is especially important during hot weather.
Mulch well. Use rotted organic matter (compost, old manure, etc.).
- Pinch off growing shoots of young plants to encourage more foliage production, and make them less likely to flopping over in the rain.
Give support if the plant is subjected to wind.If the dill appears scraggly and wind is buffeting it, use a stick or bamboo stake to provide adequate support for it to grow against.
- Harvestleaves within 2 months of planting. Choose the cooler part of the day to harvest. When removing leaves, cut close to the stem.
The flower heads can also be picked several weeks following flowering, in order to collect the seeds. Place them in a paper bag stored in a cool, dry place until the seeds ripen, then hang upside down until the seeds fall.
Dill likes direct sun and rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Use organic matter to enrich the soil before planting. This plant likes mild weather and is best in the spring and again in fall. You may set out plants following the last spring frost and then plant again two months prior to the first winter frost. Space them 12 to 15 inches apart. Be sure to keep plants watered in dry weather.
Plants may need staking when in bloom to keep the tall flower stems—true butterfly magnets—from falling over, especially if you get a lot of wind. You can keep plants cut to delay flowering and extend your harvest, or harvest the whole plant as soon it flowers. The first winter frost will kill dill planted in the fall. However, if it had time to go to seed, the fallen seed may produce new plants in the spring.
Plant dill far from fennel, since the cross-pollination of these herbs produces variable results. Dill, like parsley and fennel, draws the parsleyworm caterpillar, which is the larva of the black swallowtail butterfly. Plant enough to feed yourself and the caterpillars. Far from a pest, the butterflies are often encouraged by gardeners who plant dill and parsley in patches just to attract them.
- Helps in digestion
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Induces sleep
- maintains hormonal balance
Being loaded with flavonoids and other essential nutrients, dill leaves are known to stimulate secretion of hormones which play a key role in regulatingmenstrualcycle. Research studies have proved that increased intake of dill leaves increases blood levels of progesterone hormone thereby stabilizing irregular periods and acting as an anti-infertility agent.
- Exerts heart-protective effect
- Prevents osteoporosis