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Grow Dill as a Garden Weed

Take the first step in a natural dill-recycling program

Fresh chopped dill is hard to beat in stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes, cucumber salad, steamed carrots or your favorite vegetable or chip dip. Dill has a unique flavor and aroma. But it’s difficult to incorporate in the herb garden because it grows tall and spindly and does not produce much for the space it occupies. So I grow it as a garden weed.

Have Your Soil Tested

    Horticulture is a science, not a guessing game. I recently lectured to a large group interested in gardening. Many complained about problems in their gardens last year. When asked if they had had their soil tested, not one person in the audience had done so.
    Doctors demand blood test results before they make a diagnosis, and I require a soil test before I make any recommendations.
    Go to www.al-labs-eastern.com for instructions on taking a soil sample and on submitting it for analysis. If you have never had the soil tested, request the MEL-2 test. If you have had the soil tested in the past, request the MEL-1. You will receive results and recommendations within one week.

    This time of year, about the same time I sow my seeds for cabbage and cauliflower, I start about a dozen dill plants in my greenhouse. As soon as the soil can be prepared — and that’s anytime this early season — I transplant the dill plants amongst my cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce and spinach plants. The towering dill plants do not shade out the other plants.
    As dill is a long-day plant — meaning it flowers and sets seeds during the long days of summer — my plants produce an abundance of mature seeds by early July. As soon as the seeds turn brown and begin to fall to the ground, I gather all the seed heads and scatter the seeds throughout the garden. Many of those seeds will germinate and produce plants this fall. The seeds that germinate between the rows of vegetables are cultivated out. Those seeds that germinate in the rows of vegetables are allowed to grow.
    The plants that grow in the fall will not produce any flowers because daylight hours gradually become too short. These dill plants that grow as weeds in your garden will have an abundance of feathery aromatic foliage.
    As not all of the seeds germinate in late summer, some will germinate next spring. It generally takes a couple of years to establish a natural dill-recycling program. You must scatter the seeds from the mature seed heads every year to get a uniform distribution of dill weed seeds throughout the garden.