University of Maryland Extension: Plant of the Week
Text by Lewis Shell
Photo by Antoine McKinney
This is an herb that can do it all. Where to start?
Wise gardeners know that having dill plants is like having a flotilla of aircraft carriers hovering around a war zone. Dill umbels or ‘flat top’ flowers attract predator insects that rely on the dill flowers for energy-producing nectar and a vantage point from which to survey your garden for insects to predate.
Then, of course, dill leaves provide the gardener/chef with salad garnish and flavor, brightening numerous salads and dishes. Can you imagine a nice fillet of salmon without a delicious tangy dill sauce? Furthermore, those flavorful seeds are used in pickling and longer-cooking recipes.
To top it off, the name dill comes from ‘dilla,’ a Norse word meaning ‘to lull.’ Dill tea may be just the thing for those who suffer from insomnia.
Plant dill seeds after danger of frost in spring and every three weeks during the spring and early summer in order to enjoy a constant supply of dill foliage. Dill tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. When allowed to flower during its second year, the plant produces seed and re-seeds itself. Weeding is the only care required.