Dill, Anethum graveolens

Dill in your own garden

Try your hand at growing Dill sometime. It is very rewarding.
The seeds take about 7-10 days to germinate. You will want to plant them about 1/4 inch deep in soil, and spaced about 1 inch apart. They grow to be about 2-3 feet tall. The days until you can harvest dill is about 65-70.

Sow the seeds in average soil, after the danger of frost is past for your area. You can thin out the seedlings when they are about 2-3 inches tall, if you like. The final spacing can be about 8 inches apart, to grow the best.

The best time to harvest, is when the flower heads are still abundant and green. You can cut the entire plant to dry, and hand it upside down and in a paper bag. For me, using rubber bands helps make this process easier.

More about Dill, identification, etc.

Native to the Mediterranean region, dill is an annual or biennial herb which grows up to three feet high. It has small, aromatic yellow flowers which are arranged in clusters; it blooms in midsummer. Dill's feathery leaves are also aromatic and are blue-green in color. It usually has one main stem which is also blue-green. Dill's seeds are aromatic and contain mineral salts, calcium, silicic acid and phosphorus. Dill is now cultivated worldwide.

Dill, used throughout history

Ancient Romans and Greeks, both used dill. Romans called dill, anethum, which later became known as anise. The Greeks thought dill helped with stopping hiccups, and promoted sleep. Back in biblical times, you can find reference of it being used as a payment for one's taxes. In countries like Germany and Scandinavia, you would see some using dill in cooking fish, and cucumber, and you would find the seeds baked into bread.

During the Middle ages, some thought dill had extra protective attributes. Some thought dill could be used as a protection from witches. You could find some using dill in spells, or to promote romance between people, especially when combined with wine. There are even stories about pioneers in America, using dill seeds in church, during particularly long sermons(with the children). The nickname "meeting" seed, came about very likely, because of this. I thought that was so interesting.

Dill has been used as a digestive aid for some time, for gas, colic and general indigestion. It was used especially with children. Some made "dilly pillows" that had a combination of dill and lavender. It helped soothe one to sleep.

Some of the uses for Dill

Medicinally, Dill is rich in mineral salts, and can help with a salt free diet. In the past, (and maybe even some now), dill water has been a popular pharmaceutical digestive preparation.

Dill,Long Island Mammoth

There are many uses of Dill, but some of the more obvious and popular would be for pickles and kraut. Growing dill in your garden can be beneficial for insects like butterflies as well. The Greeks and Romans used Dill, and many still do today.

I have grown the Long Island Mammoth type of dill, and that was an interesting experience, and I hope to do that again. It did well in a pot on my porch.

The image is from an Arabic herbal medicine guidebook, Tratado árabe sobre plantas medicinales.

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