Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Herbs
by National Gardening Association Editors
Planting and Care
Sow Seed 1/4 inch deep in rows 18 to 24 inches apart or broadcast over a bed 2 feet square and gently rake the seeds into the soil. Plants should emerge in 10 to 14 days; let them grow for 10 to 14 more days and then thin them to 12 to 18 inches apart. Make small sowings a few weeks apart until midsummer to get a season-long supply of fresh leaves.
If your garden is in a windy spot, stake the tall plants to prevent wind damage, or grow a dwarf variety. If you let a few plants mature and drop seed, and leave the area undisturbed, seedlings will emerge the following growing season.
Harvest and Storage
Spread leaves on a screen in a cool, dark place to dry. If you freeze the dried leaves in plastic bags with the air pressed out, they will retain their flavor better.
To harvest seed for pickling, cut off the seedheads when they're light brown, dry them for a few days in paper bags with air holes in the sides, then shake seeds loose in the bag. To separate the seed from the chaff, spread a sheet out on the grass, set a portable fan at one edge of the sheet facing the center, and turn it to "low". Pour the collected seed in front of the fan's breeze, and it will blow away the light chaff, allowing the heavier seed to collect on the sheet below. Store dill seed as you would dried leaves.
Photograph by Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association