Friday, May 9, 2014

Why You Should Be Growing Dill

Dill is one of my favorite herbs. We use it in our cooking every week. Not only is dill delicious and healthy, but it's incredibly easy to grow. It's a wonderful addition to any herb garden!

Dill is delicious & healthy!

In my reading recently,  I came across the concept of introducing more herbs into our diet not just for flavoring, but because many of them have incredible health benefits. Before modern medicine, humans relied on herbs for healing. As a society we have moved away from this idea, but recently it's really seeing a comeback. Using herbs that taste wonderful as well as have health benefits is really a win-win!

Dill can be used two ways: the foliage (dill weed) or the seeds. Dill weed contains many antioxidants and flavonoids. Both the leaves and the seeds contain many essential volatile oils. Dill is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, folic acid, niacin and riboflavin. Dill is an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. It also has antibacterial properties. 

Dill supports digestive, oral and bone health and boosts the immune system. Dill aids with insomnia, diabetes, reducing gas, arthritis and even the hiccups. It can relieve digestive upset, headaches, respiratory issues such as congestion and help to regulate the menstrual cycle. Dill is also a very calming herb. 

So let's talk about growing it! Dill can be grown in containers or the garden. It prefers full sun. Dill is a self seeding annual, meaning it will shed its seeds at the end of the season and essentially plant itself for the next year! Dill reseeds itself so well that many people believe it to be a perennial! Dill also helps to attract beneficial insects to your garden, which is always a good thing.

Dill is easily grown from seed. Although it can be started indoors, it prefers to be direct seeded. As long as the soil is warm enough, the seeds should germinate in about a week. Dill can grow to 2-3 feet tall, so keep this in mind when you are choosing a location. You will also want to keep dill away from coriander and fennel, as they can all cross pollinate with each other producing an undesirable result. 

Our young dill just beginning to grow.

You can direct seed your dill around the time of your last frost date, covering the seeds with 1/4 in of soil. In about a week you should see some seedlings poking through the soil.. Don't worry about thinning out dill. It is a very low maintenance plant. Since dill has very thin stalks, you may notice it start to lean or slump over. You can steak the plant to push it back upright and make it look beautiful again! 

You can harvest your first dill leaves after just a few weeks of growth! Although in order to harvest the seeds, you will have to wait until the end of the season. Continuously harvesting leaves from your plants will help them to be more productive. Dill is a very rewarding plant to grow. If you don't already have some dill in your herb garden, you should add it this year!

What are your favorite herbs? What herbs are your growing this year? Share in the comments!

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