Feathery foliage on tall and vigorous dill plants that mature and form seed quickly from large umbels of yellow flowers. Sow Long Island Mammoth dill seeds at the back of the herb or vegetable bed, as plants can reach 2m (6') tall or more. In fact, it gets so tall, it makes a nice specimen plant, central in the garden. Harvest the leaves as needed. The leaves and seeds dry well.
The structure of dill's flowers is known as an umbel. Thus dill is considered an umbelliferous plant. Other umbellifers include carrots, cilantro, fennel, parsnips, and Ammi. All of these plants are attractive to predatory insects such as lady beetles, Syrphid flies (hover-flies), lacewings, and tiny parasitoid wasps. WCS recommends that organic gardeners should grow some dill precisely to attract these beneficial insects, for they will control pest insects like aphids, thrips, whitefly, and the caterpillar of the Small White Butterfly (cabbage moth).
Dill grows tall and produces lots of aromatic leaves. The umbels of yellow flowers attract numerous beneficial insects to the garden. Dill plants are attractive to ladybird beetles, which will lay their eggs on the stems. Continue reading below for some tricks on how to grow dill from seed.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun
Direct sow late spring through summer, or sow when cucumbers are transplanted, to coincide maturity for pickling. Dill tends to bolt if transplanted, so it is best direct sown. Stagger the harvest by sowing every 2-3 weeks for a constant supply of fresh leaves. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F). Seeds should germinate in 10-21 days.
Dill seeds need some light to germinate. Sow seeds no more than 5mm (¼”) deep in rows 45cm (18″) apart. Thin the plants to stand at least 15cm (6″) apart.
Ideal pH: 5.0-7.0. Grow in moderately rich soil in full sun. Water and feed regularly, and stop any overhead watering once plants are 60cm (24″) tall to prevent issues with mildew forming on the leaves.
Begin harvesting the tasty leaves once plants reach 15cm (6″) tall. About 12 weeks after sprouting the seed heads begin to form. When the first seeds have turned brown, cut the whole head and hang it upside down for the drying seeds to fall out into trays or paper bags. Dill leaf loses most of its flavour when dried, so freeze it in ice cube trays filled with water for use all winter.
Usual seed life: 3 years.
Dill improves the health of cabbages and other Brassicas, and is a very good companion for corn, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Dill attracts ladybugs, lacewings, and the parasitoid wasps that feed on garden caterpillars. At the same time it repels aphids and spider mites. Avoid planting near carrots and tomatoes.
More on Companion Planting.