Dill is a perennial herb but is often grown as an annual. It’s a luscious accompaniment to fish dishes, salads, and soups, and it can be made into Dill pickles. This herb is grown in a Dill square foot garden.
Square foot gardening entails the careful measurement of garden plots to maximize the use of your growing space. This method uses compact and healthy spacing. It helps you produce as much food as you would in a larger area and hence it is space-efficient.
How to Start a Dill Square Foot Garden
The best way to grow a Dill plant is from its seeds and not through transplanting. This is because the Dill plant has a sensitive and long taproot. When the Dill plant is transplanted, its taproot will tend to die.
It is best to sow your Dill seeds 2 – 3 weeks before the last spring frost.
When you are ready to sow your Dill seeds in a Dill square foot garden, here is how to do it.
1. Prepare your soil. You can mix some compost and wet it lightly.
2. Choose the Dill seeds to plant.
3. Plant 1 Dill per square foot. So, make 1/4-inch-deep holes every 6 inches in rows 1 square foot apart.
The space between plants will promote better air circulation and allow you to maximize your harvest.
4. Plant about two seeds per 1-foot spacing.
5. Cover the seeds very lightly with soil.
The Dill plant can’t fight its own battles, so you may need to remove any weeds growing around the young seedlings.
How to Grow Dill
Dill is a plant that is low in maintenance as far as herbs are concerned. It always gives you leaves and seeds you can use in food preparation without asking too much in return.
You can maximize the growth of your Dill plant by providing it with the best growing conditions.
Your Dill plant will need well-draining soil that is slightly acidic with a pH of 5.6 to 6.5.
If you have clay soil, add some compost, or grow the plant in containers or raised beds.
Your Dill plant is not very picky about the type of soil on condition it is well-draining. You can grow this plant in poor soil, and it will easily establish even without much care.
This plant will grow best in full sun with at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. You can also grow your Dill plant with part shade, but you may have to stake it because its stems will not grow as sturdily.
Staking is also helpful when your area tends to have high winds. However, when it is grown in full sun, it will remain upright or straight without staking. It will even develop stronger stems while withstanding these winds.
Your Dill plant will grow best when the soil temperature is about 700F. The hot summer temperatures will cause the plant to bolt.
Once established, the Dill plant is drought tolerant but should still require about 1-inch of water per week. Make sure the top 1-inch of the soil is completely dry before the next watering.
When watering, it is advisable to use drip irrigation lines (micro-irrigation systems that allow water to drip slowly to the plant’s roots) or a watering wand (a wand-like too attached to the end of a hose).
Avoid using sprinkles as they can put your Dill plant at a higher risk of fungal diseases.
The dill plant can thrive even in poor soil but adding some organic fertilizer (well-composed manure) into the soil will give you more yield of leaves and seeds.
Fertilizing your Dill plant will also make it tastier and more fragrant. It will also increase the plant’s content of essential oil.
An all-purpose organic fertilizer will suffice but you can also fertilize your Dill plant with comfrey tea or well-composted sheep manure.
Tips in Growing Dill Plants- Here are a few more tips to help ensure you get the most out of your Dill plant.
Sow Dill seeds every 2-3 weeks to ensure a steady harvest.
Sowing your Dill into a dedicated bed will help it perpetuate itself.
Avoid growing your Dill next to other species of the carrot family to discourage diseases from spreading and also to prevent pest infestation.
Grow your Dill plant along with onions, leeks, tomatoes, cucumber, and garlic to allow it to easily self-seed from one growing season to another.
Remove flower heads as they bloom to promote the production of leaves. Conversely, allow the flower heads to grow if you want more seeds.
Harvest seeds when they start to brown from green. Brown seeds have the best flavors.
To harvest Dill seeds, cut the stalks at their base. Store them upside down in a paper bag. The seeds will naturally fall into the bottom of the paper bag.
The dill plant is flexible because it can self-seed.
What is Square Foot Gardening?
The Dill plant grows 1 plant per square foot.
Square foot gardening entails the careful measurement of garden plots to maximize the use of your growing space.
Square foot gardening is an ideal food-growing method for the newbie gardener with limited garden space.
It can grow as much food in a small space in the same manner as a typical row-planted garden.
You do not need a plot in your yard to plant Dill.
You can easily access a compact 4×4 foot raised garden bed.
Square foot gardening is an intelligent gardening approach allowing you to source your own food even if you have a small space.
This gardening method uses compact, tight, and healthy spacing. It allows you to produce as much food as you would in a larger space using row crop methods that are less space-efficient.
Dill’s Origins and Uses
Dill is a bushy plant that comes with blue-green feathery leaves that grow atop its hollow stems that come with white and green stripes.
Each plant has a single stem and umbrellas-shaped flower heads. Its flowers are greenish-yellow that grow in clusters. Dill seeds are oval, flat, and light brown. It can grow up to 4 feet tall and about 2 feet wide.
The feathery leaves of Dill (Dill weed) are used as herbs. They flavor such dishes as vegetables, salads, sauces, and meats. Their small, dried, and hard seeds are used as a spice to flavor pickles, coleslaw, bread, and sauerkraut.
If planted from seeds, you can harvest Dill leaves after 40-60 days or once your Dill plant already has about 4-5 leaves. You can start harvesting Dill seeds after 85-110 days.
Dill traces its origin to western Africa, southern Russia, and the Mediterranean. It’s a member of the Umbelliferae family, just like parsley and cumin.
The Dill plant grows from Spring through Fall in Zones 3 to 11.
Dill has a unique taste. A small number of Dill leaves or Dill seeds added to your recipe goes a long way. Its leaves make good garnishes. Its seeds create more flavor and aroma when used in cooking. Dill seeds also make good pickles.
Growing Dill in a Dill square foot garden is a great method because it ensures a high yield in a small plot. If you have a 4 x 8 garden plot (32 square feet), you can grow your 32 Dill plants. That is 1 Dill plant per square foot.
Square foot gardening is a space-efficient way to plant Dill as you get more yield from a small garden plot.