Dill: Dukat (Anethum graveolens)
Harvesting & Storage
Culinary & Medicinal
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Also Known As: Tetra
Native Range: Southwestern Asia and India
Ease of Growing: Moderate
Grown as: Annual
Maturity (Blooms): August to September
Hardiness: Hardy. Dill is quite hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 24 degrees F.
Crops: Spring Transplant, Spring
Growing Season: Short, Long
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm. Dill will tolerate poor growing conditions as long as it's sunny. It does well in poor soils, and doesn't require much water, but needs sunlight and a little protection from the wind.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 50°F - 80°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 50°F. Dill is a fairly hardy plant and can be planted outdoors 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date. It is sometimes sown in fall to provide a spring crop.
Start Indoors: No
Start Outdoors: Yes
Light: Full Sun. Min. 6 hours daily (Cold, Cool, Warm). Dill needs a warm sunny spot for best production (it tolerate very light shade). It should also be protected from strong winds.
Water: Medium. Dill produces a deep taproot which makes it quite drought tolerant, but for maximum productivity the soil should be kept moist.
Feeder: Light. Dill isn't a very hungry plant.
Suitability: Drought tolerant, Tolerates light frost, Needs summer shade
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. Dill is an excellent candidate for container growing. Dill has long roots, so choose a container with a depth of 1 to 3'. Make sure your container has drainage holes. Line the bottom with gravel and then cover with nutrient-rich potting soil. Dill grow best in well-drained soil, so be careful not to overly water your plants. Keep the soil moist but not soaked, and place your dill in an area with access to 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Aphid Midges, Hoverflies, Green Lacewings, Ladybugs, Mealybug Destroyer, Predatory Wasps, Preying Mantis, Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars, and Tachinid Flies.
Plant Height: 24-36"
Plant Diameter: 6-18"
Sowing Depth: 1/4"
Produces: feathery, sweet, bluish green foliage and umbrella shaped seed heads.
USDA Grow Zone: 2-11
Garden Uses: Commonly grown in herb gardens, vegetable gardens or flower borders. Also may be grown in containers. Dill leaves add subtle but distinctive flavor to a variety of dishes including fish, vegetables, soups, salads, sauces, breads, and herb butters. Dill seed is more pungent than the leaves and is the primary flavoring in dill pickles. Dill seed is also used in vinegars, sauerkraut and for flavoring root vegetables. Dill seed can be used to make an excellent tea. Flower heads are excellent in dried arrangements.
Soil pH: 5.5-7.5, Ideal 5.5-6.5. Dill will grow well in any average soil, so long as it is well drained, moderately rich, and not too shallow.
Compost (Nitrogen), 2 inches, in top 6" of soil: If you soil is very poor you may want to add compost to loosen it and add nutrients.
Water Needs: Moderate. Dill produces a deep taproot which makes it quite drought tolerant, but for maximum productivity the soil should be kept moist.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. Dill isn't a very hungry plant.
Weeding, regularly: regularly, 1 time a week. It is important to keep the plants free of weeds, especially when young.
Watering, regularly: Water, 0.5 inches, regularly, 2 times a week. Dill is pretty drought tolerant, and doesn't need a lot of water. Watering also depends on your local weather; don't water if it's raining, or water more frequently if it's dry. Just be sure to keep soil somewhat moist but never soggy for the best crop. The best way to know how much moisture is in your soil is to feel 2" below the soil line. If it's dry, water.
Support: No. In windy weather these tall plants may fall over if not staked. You can plant dill closer together to allow them to support each other from falling over.
Storage Req: Freezer
Storage Temp: 32°F
Storage Length: 1-180 days
Dill seed, leaves and flower heads can be dried for storage. Make sure you dry them very thoroughly and store in an air tight container.
Storage Req: Dry
Storage Temp: 50-70°F
Storage Length: 1-360 days
The fresh plants may be kept in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
Storage Req: Refrigerator
Storage Temp: 35-40°F
Storage Length: 1-7 days
Seed Viability in Years: 3-5 years
Germination Percentage: 60%
Leaves: raw or cooked. Used as a flavoring in salads etc. The leaves lose their flavor if the are cooked for any length of time and so are best used raw or added to cooked dishes only a few minutes before the cooking is complete. The leaves can be harvested at any time the plant is growing, but are best just before the plant flowers.
Seed: raw or cooked. Very pungent and bitter in taste. It is used as a flavoring in salads, preserves etc, its chief uses being perhaps in making dill vinegar and as a flavoring in pickled gherkins. It can also be sprouted and used in breads, soups and salad dressings. An essential oil from the seed is used as a flavoring in the food industry. A tea is made from the leaves and/or the seeds.
Dill does attract the tomato horn worm so it would be wise to plant it somewhere away from your tomato plants. Do plant dill in an appropriate spot for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars to feed on. Even their caterpillars are beautiful. Do not plant near carrots, caraway, lavender or tomatoes.
The Health Benefits of Dill
Dill, scientifically known as Anethum Graveolens, has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Both the seeds and the leaves can be used. Apart from giving a strong, tangy, appetizing flavor and taste, dill has many medicinal properties, which mainly come from certain compounds called Monoterpenes, as well as flavonoids, minerals and certain amino acids.
Dill can be a perennial or annual herb, depending on where it is cultivated in the world. This herb is used in almost every continent on the planet in some capacity, and although it is called many different things, it serves similar purposes in much of the world cuisine. It can be used dry as a topping for a number of meals, but it is also used as an ingredient in many meals. For those herbalists that want to grow their own dill, it is important to cultivate this herb in warm to hot summers, with plenty of sunshine.
Digestion: Dill itself is an appetizer and therefore extensively used in culinary applications. The essential oils present in dill are stimulating and they activate the secretion of bile and digestive juices. These oils also stimulate peristaltic motion of the intestine, easing the passage of bowel movements and relieving constipation.
Insomnia: The essential oils found in herbs have peculiar and powerful properties. They are simultaneously stimulating, sedative, and hypnotic, that is, they stimulate as well as pacify. The essential oils in dill are no exception. The flavonoids and vitamin-B complex present in its essential oils, since they are stimulating in nature, activate the secretion of certain enzymes and hormones which have calming and hypnotic effects, thereby helping people get a good night’s sleep.
Bone Health: The calcium content of dill means that it is an important element in protecting you from bone loss and the loss of bone mineral density. Osteoporosis affects millions of people each year, and calcium, along with other essential minerals, are a key component in the proper growth and development of bones, and the repair of injured bones as well.
Diabetes: Dill has long been associated with diabetes and the management of insulin levels. Despite the fact that research is somewhat limited in this area, particularly on human subjects, studies have indicated that they can help reduce the fluctuations of serum lipids and insulin levels in corticosteroid-induced diabetes.
Excess Gas: As a well-known carminative, dill can help prevent the embarrassing condition of excessive gas. It is not only an uncomfortable condition to experience in public, but if gas continues to build up, it can actually be a dangerous situation where it presses on the delicate organs of the chest cavity. A carminative forces gas downward through the digestive tract, and allows it to leave the body in a safe way.
Immune System: Dill has long been associate with antimicrobial activity, and it has been shown to prevent a number of microbial infections throughout the body, both those in various organs and those potential infections that land in wounds or small cuts on the skin.
Hiccups: Hiccups occur for various reasons, but primarily, they occur due to trapped gas and repeated upward movement of gases through the food pipe. The second cause is due to certain allergies, hypersensitivity, hyperactivity and nervous malfunctioning. Dill can actually help in all of these situations. As a carminative, dill helps the expulsion of gases and also reduces gas formation while as a sedative, dill helps to calm down hiccups due to allergies, hyperactivity, or nervous disorders.
Diarrhea: Diarrhea is mainly caused by two thing, indigestion and microbial action. In terms of indigestion, dill can be quite helpful, as it has very good digestive properties. Secondly, dill can help due to the monoterpenes and flavonoids present in its essential oils, which are germicidal or bactericidal in nature. They can help cure diarrhea by inhibiting microbial infections that try to attack the body.
Dysentery: Dysentery is primarily caused due to fungal infections. For this condition as well, dill can help, since its essential oils are disinfectant in nature and help to inhibit fungal infections effectively.
Arthritis: Dill has long been known as an anti-inflammatory herb, meaning that it helps to reduce the inflammation and the associated pain of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and arthritis. Dill has been used since ancient times for precisely this reason.
Menstrual Disorders: The flavonoids in the essential oil of dill are stimulating and Emenagogic in nature, which means that they stimulate the secretion of certain hormones that help maintain proper menstrual cycles in women.
Respiratory Disorders: Kaempferol and certain other components of flavonoids and monoterpenes in the essential oils of dill are anticongestive and antihistaminic in nature and help clear congestion in the respiratory system due to histamine, allergies or coughs.
Oral Care: Dill seeds and leaves are very good mouth and breath fresheners. Apart from that, the essential oils in it are germicidal, antioxidant and disinfectant in nature. Due to these properties, they help end microbial infections in the mouth and their antioxidants minimize the damage caused to gums and teeth by free radicals.
Cancer: Let’s turn our attention to these monoterpense we’ve been talking about. Monoterpenes are chemopreventive, and since they are stimulating by nature, they activate the secretion of an enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase (the radical glutathione is an effective antioxidant) which is very effective in neutralizing carcinogens. It is particularly effective at neutralizing Cyano- and Benzo- derivatives and free radicals, thereby protecting the body from cancer. The other antioxidants in the essential oils of dill also contribute to this cancer protection that people enjoy from adding dill to their diet.
Other Benefits: Dill is a relaxant, increases strength, and increases urination to help in the removal of toxins, excess salts, and water from the body. Furthermore, it is a carminative (helps remove excess gas), antispasmodic (prevents cramps), and an antiflatulent substance. It stimulates lactation (galactagogue) and endocrinal secretions, enhances the libido due to the presence of Arginine and last but not the least, it ensures bone and dental health since it is a good source of calcium.
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