A Complete Guide to Plant Dill
Are you planning to take a new interest in gardening? This time of the year is the correct time to plan on your new hobby. Late spring to early autumn will be a suitable to plant, grow, and harvest your plants. You may select a few options to start with, it can vary from flowers to plants. Dill can be an easy and correct choice for beginner in gardening. Dill have many use, besides consuming it can also be used for pickling. Below is a complete guide on how to grow dill effectively and correctly.
Dill or anethum graveolens came from apiaceae or parsley family. Dill originated and can be found massively on Europe and Asia countries. Dill are commonly used as an herb as well as added spice to various types of foods. The leaves that are feathery in texture are mostly used as herb dill and the seed that are small and hard are usually dried and consumed as spice. The green leaves are usually called dill weeds and it is consumed in dishes such as salads. Dill seeds can also be added to bread.
When to Grow Dill
Before diving further on how to grow dill, we will discuss about when it is usually planted. Dill has been known to be an annual plant which means that it can only be planted, grown, and harvested once a year where it is sunny all day long, or during the summer. However, dill is actually a biennial plant and warm season herb. The plant is sensitive to cold temperature and frost thus it can only work when sowed after the light freezes of winter soil has gone.
Dill is a self-seeding plant which means that if dill is grown naturally, dill plant will grow back from one a year to another. As dill is used for prickling, the gardener should plant the seed in every couple weeks once the summer has come so that an adequate amount of supplies can be harvested when the time comes. If you plan to grow dill permanently, let the flowers grow and produce seed each year, you will get a sufficient amount each year for early sowing.
The growing season for dill is from spring until fall. Dill usually tolerates cold and heat however as mentioned before, it is sensitive to frost. The bloom time is usually from the midsummer until autumn. So you start sowing in spring and harvesting midsummer until fall. Timing is important to control how to grow dill. Once you figure out when to start sowing the dill seed, it is time to prepare your soil and start planting.
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Where to Grow Dill
This guide on how to grow dill will covers the area on where to grow dill. Dill can be planted in a garden soil, in a pot, as well as containers. Dill will be the best to be grown in a soil that is well-drained and full of organism waste. Gardener shall also add compost if the soil condition is less than ideal. The temperature for soil is best to between 15 to 21 °C. The pH meter of the soil should be in the slight range between neutral and acidic or starting from 5.5 to 6.7.
The seed can be started to be sowed into the soil inside the room or indoors for about four to six weeks. Once the seed is ready it can be transplanted into another area with direct sun exposure. However, it can result in poorly transplanted seed and taproots so dill is best to be grown in one place from start to finish.
Growing Dills in Containers
If you are wondering how to grow dill in limited space, gardener can also plant dill on pots and containers indoors. Dill that has no direct sunlight will still grow although it will not be as bushy and feathery as the ones grown outdoors. Gardener shall make sure to use deep containers to ensure the tall plant and its roots will be kept in place. Ensure that the soil has normal potting compost and do not forget to water the plant well.
In the guide on how to grow dill indoors, gardener shall take care of the plant with extra care as it is different with naturally grown plants with direct sunlight. Gardener shall move the containers every day so the plant can get at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight exposure directly. The containers might also need extra care and supported by a post or stake. Indoor grown dills are ready to be harvested in approximately 1 and a half month after the sowing.
How to Prepare in Planting Dill
Before talking about the preparation it should be useful to gain knowledge on the physical characteristics of the plant. Dill grows from spring until fall and it is an annual plant. The stem grows in singles and each stem has a flower head shaped like an umbrella. The seeds are hard, flat, and shaped like an oval. The colors of the leaves are green with white stripes and the flowers are yellow.
In order to determine how to grow dill, the gardener needs preparation process. To prepare in planting dills, the gardener must choose a good soil, preferably exposed to full direct sunlight. If the gardener is planning to plant dill in a garden along with different types of other plants, choose an area next to cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers and onions. However, keep the dill away from plants such as carrots and peppers.
How to Plant Dill
Next in how to grow dill is the planting step. After the preparation step and the ideal soil has been found, it is now time to sow the seed into the soil. In spring after the frost of ice has come off and the temperature is warm, sow dill seed in rows. Gardener may want to sow them five inches apart to create some space in between. The dill will grow seed in itself, however, gardener should sow dill crops every few weeks for better harvest.
The technique in how to grow dill is in the planting process. The seed should be planted about a quarter to half an inch deep. The spacing between plants should be 10 to 12 inches from another and the space between rows should be 2 to 3 feet apart. Gardener should notice that dill grows in clumps. For consumption gardener shall plant about 10 dill plants. The number of plants will suffice for once seasonal planting, however for pickling or preserving gardener can grow up to 20 plants.
In planting dills, gardener shall ensure to protect early plants from strong winds. When the plants grow bigger as they can grow up to 4 feet, gardener might want to support those using stakes. Keep the plants under direct sun at all times and for preserving gardener shall try to plant them every few weeks for the best harvest result.
How to Grow Dill
One of the most crucial steps in how to grow dill is the next step which is the growing process. The growing process can be divided into three which are watering, feeding, and care.
1. Watering Dill
As any other types of herb plants, dill must be watered to keep growing healthily. Aside from direct contact from the sunlight, gardener shall ensure that dill plants are watered regularly and thoroughly in all areas of planting. During the growing season regular watering is needed, however once the plants are almost fully grown, it will be best to leave the soil almost dry in between the watering process.
It is important to care for the soil condition through the growing season. The reason is if the soil where the plants are in good condition and well-drained during the time of planting and stay like that through the year, new plants will grow on the next year.
2. Feeding Dill
Aside from water and direct sunlight exposure, dill plants also need to be fed. Even though the soil is rich in organic contents, gardener should also add planting beds with aged compost. Gardener might also want to spread dill with compost tea a few times during growing season for better result in harvest.
If the gardener are planting dill indoors, ensure the plants are in direct sunlight about 6 to 8 hours a day. On the other hands, if the gardener live in a much hotter area with too much exposure of sunlight, the gardener shall try to place the plants in the shadier spots for better harvesting result.
3. Caring Dill
To care for dill plants during growing season is not an easy task. First, gardener should keep the soil bed from weeds as it compete to get nutrients and water. Second, the garden shall be supported by stakes as plants grow bigger to keep from strong winds knocking them over before harvest. Gardener shall also diligently cut off premature flowers that can detain leaf growth.
In other way, dills can also be grown from cutting. Dill cuttings is a very easy step to do and can be an alternative in growing your plants. Root your dill cuttings in water and it can be transplanted into pots or containers in fairly quick time which is in about 2 or 3 weeks. Each single stem of the cuttings that the gardener transplanted will grow into a new plant healthily if the process is done correctly.
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Pests or Diseases
Same as planting and growing any other herb plants, it will not be free from problems such as pests and diseases. The common leaf spot and the occasional fungal leaf and root problems may occur to the gardener’s dill plants, especially if it is the first time in planting and growing dills. When this happens, gardener should not panic as there are steps to overcome the pests’ problems.
Dill may be disturbed by pests such as caterpillars and hornworms. Gardener shall have to get them away and protect the plants by hands. In other way, use basicullus thuringiensis kurstaki spray to get rid of the pest problems. Another way is to rotate crops and not overcrowd them as well as preventing further fertilization can avoid these problems. Planting dills next to other vegetables can also act as an all-natural pesticide to combat the pests from disturbing the growth of the dill plants.
How to Harvest Dill
The last and final step in how to grow dill is the harvesting process. Gardener shall harvest the plants once it reach about 8 inches tall. Gardener may wonder how long does dill take to grow. The leaves are best to be harvested 70 days after the seeds are planted and dill seeds are ready to be harvested about 90 days after they are planted. Dill seeds shall be flat and brown in color.
To prepare for harvest, gardener shall water the day before the harvest. Ensure the plants are hydrated and the leaves are clean by watering them so it will not be a problem once the plants are harvested. Gardener shall use a pair of sharp and clean scissors and harvest them in the morning hours. Cut and snip fresh dill leaves as much as need and do not strip the whole plants if it is not the final harvest. In harvesting gardener might want to let some leaves to stay and keep growing for the upcoming growing season.
Growing plants especially dill plants for the first can be an exciting and yet a challenging activities for first time gardeners. It can be beneficial to know that dills plants can be consumed in almost every part. The seed can be added to your daily dishes such as stews and bread. The leaves can be consumed as salads as well as garnishes for your main course food.
The benefit of planting dills is that the soil can be used permanently as it is a self-seeding plant. If done correctly, the soil will produce new plants on the next dill growing season. Dill can also be grown indoors, from cuttings, and in a container. There is no reason to not start growing dills for all gardening enthusiasts.
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