by Jennifer Poindexter
Don’t you love fresh herbs? They’re amazing for a variety of reasons. I love fresh herbs when I’m cooking, I enjoy them when making tea, and I also love them when I’m canning vegetables from my garden.
One herb I like to keep on hand is dill. I usually grow it inside my home because, in my planting zone, dill doesn’t have a long lifespan. However, I’ve learned how to successfully grow this herb over the years. If you’d like to learn a few tips for encouraging dill to prosper, in your herb garden, here is what I’ve learned from my experience.
1. Know Your Limitations by Planting Zones
The first thing about dill is that it prefers cooler temperatures. If you live in some of the cooler planting zones, you might be able to grow dill year-round.
You could grow it indoors while the winter is brutal, but you could grow it outdoors once the final frost is over.
However, if you live in a warmer planting zone, your window is a little shorter to raise this herb. You can grow it when the temperatures are cooler during spring and fall.
Dill germinates best when the temperatures are between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. The mid-70’s is when dill seems to thrive.
Yet, you must grow the herb indoors when the winters are too cold or when the summers are too hot.
Cold will kill dill and warm weather will cause the plant to bolt. Take your planting zone into consideration when choosing a growing method for this herb.
2. Pick the Right Growing Set-Up
We are going to discuss the different needs of dill as this article proceeds. However, you must know your options upfront.
Dill can be grown in a traditional, in-ground garden bed. You may also grow it in a raised bed or in containers. The herb seems to prosper in any of these set-ups.
Knowing your options is important because if you don’t have a location which can supply the light, soil, or temperatures dill requires, you can always change your growing method to meet the plant’s needs.
3. Dill Needs Light
Now that we’ve discussed your growing options, let’s cover one of the main growing conditions dill needs.
Dill must have adequate lighting. You should choose a location which supplies the plant with six to eight hours of sunlight.
If you don’t have a location which can supply this need, consider growing dill in a container. This will allow you to move the plant around to receive the proper amount of light. You can also supplement lighting, as needed.
Keep in mind, when using supplemental lighting, for every hour of natural light you’re supplementing the herb will need two hours under the light source.
4. Dill Needs Quality Soil
You have plants in this world which can survive in less than adequate growing conditions. However, every plant would prefer to be provided a quality growing area.
Therefore, dill should be grown in quality soil. The dirt should be aerated and well-draining. Dill even likes a little sand in its growing area.
This allows the water to be absorbed but also drain away from the plant quickly. Dill doesn’t like sitting in constant moisture, so supplying the right soil is vital to this herb’s survival.
5. Direct Sow
There are a few ways to grow dill. You can find it for sale at local nurseries or grow it from seed. This herb can struggle, at times, when being transplanted as a seedling. Therefore, many find it easier to start their own dill instead of purchasing established plants.
If you’re growing dill from seed, be sure to direct sow it in the growing location. This could save you quite a bit of trouble in the long run.
The herb prefers to be directly sown because it has a long taproot. Many root crops have a similar taproot which makes it difficult to transplant them as well.
Therefore, in these situations, it’s better to direct sow the seed and avoid disrupting the plant’s growth. Keep this in mind when choosing how you’d like to introduce dill to your herb garden.
6. Know Dill’s Friends and Enemies
This rule mainly applies to gardeners who are growing dill in a vegetable garden. It’s common to grow a mixture of herbs and vegetables together.
Not only does it better utilize your garden space, but herbs can sometimes protect the crops around it. Many pests don’t like the scent of herbs and avoid them.
When planting dill among other crops, know which plants are friendly with dill and which plants might prove harmful to the herb.
For instance, dill doesn’t grow well around carrots, but it does great when planted among onions and cabbage. Consider companion planting guidelines when choosing where to grow dill in your vegetable garden.
7. Practice Adequate Spacing
Spacing rules vary depending upon what gardening method you choose. If you’re growing dill in a container garden, you must consider the size of the container.
For smaller containers, there should only be one dill plant growing. For larger containers, you might be able to grow multiple dill plants or mix the herb among other herbs and vegetables.
Before planting dill among other crops, in a container, do consider the mature size of the plant. This will help you decide on how many plants can realistically grow in this style of garden.
If you’re growing dill in a raised bed, or in-ground garden, the seeds should be initially planted ¼ inch deep beneath the soil.
Don’t worry about the spacing when sowing the seeds. However, once the plants are approximately three inches tall, you should thin the seedlings.
There should be approximately two feet of space between each plant. This will provide room for the herbs to grow properly and ensure they’re receiving adequate airflow.
8. Water Accordingly
As we discussed earlier, dill has a long taproot. This equates to the plant having a deep root system. When it comes to deeply rooted plants, it’s best to water them deeply, too.
Therefore, you should water the plant heavily, for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. It ensures water reaches the deep roots when it’s first applied.
However, it also encourages the roots to dig deeper between watering sessions. Deeper root systems typically equate to healthier plants.
9. If You Want More, Let It Flower
The final tip, for growing dill, is to let the plant flower if you’d like more of it in the future. Dill is an annual herb.
Therefore, once it dies, the herb must be planted again the following year. However, dill also reseeds easily.
If you’ll allow the plants to go through the stage of flowering, when they dry up, the seeds will drop on the soil beneath them.
Avoid disturbing the soil and leave the seeds alone. The following year, they should germinate. The only thing you must do is thin the seedlings after they’ve sprouted.
Growing dill isn’t a difficult process. The herb mainly needs water, light, and the correct temperatures. If you can provide these things, you should have a happy plant.
Whether you choose to grow dill as part of a vegetable garden, in your herb garden, or as part of your indoor container garden, it makes a delicious addition!