The spicy and aromatic herbs on the table are more than just decorations. The delicate aroma of dill whets the appetite. This pungent and aromatic crop is widely distributed on all continents and is especially prized by those who love the subtle flavors of natural appetizers, salads, and side dishes. The leaves, stems, roots, inflorescences, and seeds are used for medicinal purposes in dishes and winter preparations. In this article, we will tell you about the agronomy of dill – how to grow dill, sowing, care, harvest, peculiarities of bush dill cultivation.
HISTORY OF DILL CULTIVATION
Dill (Anethum graveolens) refers to the annual crop of the green, pungent aromatic, or spicy smelling plant group. Its taproot, delicate foliage, and delicate fresh herbal aroma set it apart from other plants in this group.
Europeans have known about this crop and used it for food since the distant tenth century, but even today, large estate owners complain about its strange peculiarities. It reproduces easily and forms a good green block crop in spring and autumn but often leaves the owner without the green he likes during the summer months. Changing varieties, sowing times, sowing depths, and maintaining optimal watering have no apparent effect on the crop. But the clues are all around. It has to do with the genetic memory of the plant.
Dill or vegetable Dill is the only species in the Dill family with a short life cycle. Some botanists tend to place it in the genus Mustard and call it Garden Dill. Often referred to as dill weed or dillweed.
Native to the Mediterranean, Dill has a wide distribution and grows everywhere. It is over 5000 years old and was used by Egyptian doctors as a medicinal plant to relieve headaches (migraines).
According to the Bible, the Pharisees paid a tenth of Dill in parts (seeds, leaves, and stems). Today, Dill grows on every private plot of land, and since the Middle Ages, it has been considered a protection against witchcraft and curses.
DILL CONTAINS MANY HEALTH BENEFITS
All organs of Dill contain beneficial substances, but they are particularly abundant in the fresh leaves. Along with carotenoids in the dill plant are vitamins “C,” “B,” “PP,” flavonoids, and mineral salts. the medicinal base of Dill is the essential oil, which includes carvone, cypressene, and limonene. It is these things that give the plant its characteristic pungent odor.
Dill is used in folk medicine to treat many diseases and ailments. The importance of its medicinal properties is appreciated, and pharmacists have developed medicines recommended for the treatment of chronic coronary heart disease, to prevent angina attacks, and to relieve colic in patients with gastritis. dill water is used to treat colic in infants.
Doctors recommend the use of infusions of leaves and stem in the initial stages of hypertension, as diuretics, wound healing, allergic itching, anti-hemorrhoids, and other indications. In perfume and cosmetic production, Dill seed essential oil is used in the manufacture of toothpaste, cologne, creams.
USEFUL PROPERTIES OF DILL PLANT
The main biological characteristic of Dill is its relation to the length of daylight. dill is a typical long daylight plant. Its duration is 10-14 hours, forming only the asexual part of the plant (increase in leaf volume.) It is documented in the genetic memory of Dill that the extension of daylight hours beyond 14 hours is a sign of developmental completion. Therefore, the rate of plant formation of generative organs (flowers, inflorescences, fruits, seeds) is accelerated when 14 hours a day are exceeded.
Early spring and early autumn, when light hours are between 10 and 14 hours, are the most desirable periods for the development of above-ground vegetation. Dill mayflower immediately due to the long daylight hours in summer. Keep this in mind when sowing early varieties with a short growing season in the late season.
Since fresh herbs contain the most essential oils and other nutrients, it is recommended to establish a conveyor belt for fresh Dill harvest. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
- Repeat sowing the same variety every 10-12 days.
- by sowing different grades of early maturing varieties to control fresh herbs.
- by combining the spacing of the seeds and the variety of Dill.
TIME TO SOW DILL
Dill is divided into early, medium, and late varieties. When sowing fresh herbs with varieties, use the following methods.
- In March-April and early July-August (depending on the region), sow late-maturing varieties only at recognized intervals.
- At the end of May/beginning of June, switch to sowing early-maturing varieties.
This strategy, together with varietal characteristics, will help to have fresh herbs on the table and inflorescences for processed products throughout the warm period. And self-seeding, even when cold weather arrives, will provide another crop of herbs.
VARIETIES OF DILL
Dill can be harvested technically one or more times (for greens) and biologically mature for seeds (in inflorescences). The vegetative period of early varieties ranges from 32-55 days from germination to harvest of green bodies and 55-70 days to the green umbrella stage. The growing seasons of medium varieties are 35-55 and 56-99 days, respectively. Late maturing varieties form green masses suitable for harvesting in 38-52 days and for winter harvesting in 62-104 days.
1.Bouquet – ‘Bouquet’ grows to a foot tall at maturity, and the leaves are ready to harvest in 40-60 days. Flowering is quick – only 85-100 days, good or bad depending on your goal, as flowering means the leaves will start to wilt and lose their attractive flavor.
- Compatto – ‘Compatto’ is a compact variety with blue-green foliage and a bold, aromatic flavor. It grows to 12-18 inches tall at maturity and is slow to leaf out. Plants are somewhat drought and heat tolerant. It only takes 40-50 days to harvest the leaves. If you are looking for a container herb, this is a perfect size.
- Delikat – ‘Delikat’ has rich, thick, dense foliage. It is a reliable producer with high leaf and seed production compared to other Dill varieties. It grows about 10-24 inches tall at maturity, and the leaves are ready to harvest in about 40 days, and the seeds mature in 90 days.
- Dukat – ‘Dukat’ Dill, also known as ‘Tetra,’ is a Danish variety that is slower to germinate than other types. It has a rich flavor and is a good choice if your main goal is to harvest leaves for cooking.’ Dukat’ has a high oil content, which makes it particularly aromatic and tasty. This variety tops out at about one to two feet tall at maturity and is perfect for growing in containers. The leaves can be harvested after 40-50 days, and the seeds can be matured in about 90-100 days.
- Elephant – ‘Elephant’ is a late flowering variety that blooms slowly – so you can prune the dark green foliage over a longer season. The mild-flavored foliage matures in 60-90 days, and the seeds are ready in 110-140 days.’ Elephant’ matures to a height of four feet tall with a two-foot spread and can be planted in borders or raised garden beds.
- ‘Fernleaf’ – A 1992 All-American Selections Award winner, ‘Fernleaf’ grows to 18 inches tall and has a compact growth habit. It is ideal for growing in containers or small herb gardens. Fernleaf’ also makes a beautiful specimen plant in an ornamental garden or is suitable for growing in indoor containers. After cutting, the foliage retains its flavor longer than some other varieties.’ Fernleaf is ready to harvest foliage in 40-60 days and seeds in 90-100 days.
- Greensleeves – ‘Greensleeves,’ sometimes referred to as an alternate spelling of ‘Green Sleeves,’ is resistant to drawback and produces large amounts of dark green foliage with a sweet, mild flavor. It grows to a relatively compact height of 30 inches and has a long harvest period. Ideal for growing in containers, you can harvest the leaves in 45 days. The seeds mature in about 100 days.
- Hera – ‘Hera’ is slow to leaf out and has dark green, almost blue leaves. Considered a ‘Hera’ variety, the fragrant leaves mature in 40-60 days, and the seeds are ready after 50 days. Growing to a compact size of 12-18 inches at maturity, ‘Hera’ is well suited for container growing.
- Herkules – ‘Herkules’, also known as ‘Hercules’, grow to an impressive three feet tall at maturity with lots of long, arching foliage. It produces a large number of flower heads and is very slow to draw. The downside is that older leaves tend to lose some flavor and you may need to put it away due to their height. remove the leaves after 40-60 days. The seeds mature between 90 and 100 days.
- Mammoth Long Island – Mammoth Long Island, also known as ‘Mammoth’ or ‘Long Island’ Dill, is a large cultivar. It averages about 3 feet tall but can grow up to 6 feet tall at maturity under the right conditions. It is popular for its large, tasty leaves that are perfect for chopping and sprinkling on fish. Due to its large size, this species may need to be released for sampling. The leaves are ready to harvest in 65 days and the seeds mature about 110 days after planting.
- Superdukat – ‘Superdukat’ is a heavy producer with slow flowering. I have harvested this variety for three consecutive months without continuous sowing. Its rich foliage is high in oil and has a strong aromatic flavor.’ Superdukat’ can grow up to five feet tall at maturity. Plants tend to grow evenly and straight, and stems may need to be put on a sample. Leaves take 40-50 days to harvest and seeds take 90-100 days to harvest.
- Teddy – ‘Teddy’ is a fast-growing, densely branched, upright plant. The leaves of this cultivar are thicker than the usually delicate and delicate foliage you see on other Dill plants. The dwarf variety ‘Teddy’ is ideal for container growing. Foliage is ready in 45-55 days and seeds can be harvested in 95 to 115 days.
- Vierling – ‘Vierling’ is an heirloom variety with dark blue leaves and thick stems. The bolls are very slow. Seed heads are popular with commercial florists for cut flower arrangements. In the garden, it attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.’ Vierling’ is about 36-60 inches tall at maturity. This Dill weed can be harvested after 45 days and the seeds can be sown after 95 days.
Shrub varieties reached technical maturity in 40-45 days and biological maturity in 110-135 days. In the spring crop, the duration of the green harvest ranged from 14 to 35 days.
AGRONOMY OF GROWING DILL
Dill needs light and permeable soil for the above-ground parts to develop well. They do not tolerate stagnant water. If stagnation occurs, leaves from the petiole to the base of the leaf will appear red, and the growth of the above-ground parts of the plant will be greatly retarded. With increasing acidity, seed germination is delayed, and the growth of the above-ground parts is restricted.
Dill needs a neutral acidity soil.
The requirements for Dill are not very high. Sow seeds immediately when the soil warms to 37-41°F (3-5°C) in a 4inch (10 cm) layer. The sprouts will not die when the temperature drops to 26°F (-3°C). The optimum temperature for plant development is between 46-50°F (8-10°C). Temperatures above 59°F (15°C) will result in a rapid transition to inflorescence formation.
When sown from dry seeds, shoots appear on days 10-20 and grow slowly during the first period (10-12 days). In sparse bushes, they are visibly suppressed by weeds. Seeds should be sown in clean, moist, and loose soil.
- Dill prefers a sunny spot. Even light shade will cause the plant to stretch, the stems and leaves to be low, and the leaves to be pale in color.
- Dill should not be prepared with lime and ashes.
Antecedents and compatibility with other vegetable crops
- Cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, beans, and beets are good predecessors under Dill. Dill should not be grown after parsley, celery, or carrots.
- Dill can be planted as a second-round after early harvested crops (early potatoes, garlic, onions, early cabbage). Develops well in close planting with other vegetable crops (spinach, salad, onion, garlic, cabbage). Best compatibility with cucumbers and baby carrots.
Dill is an early crop. Therefore, the soil is prepared for sowing in the fall. Remnants of predecessors and weeds are removed from the site. Mature humus or compost (especially on low fertility soils) 0.5-1 bucket and 25-30 g/11 sq. ft. of nitrocellulose are applied under excavation.
On medium soils, instead of nitrate fertilizer – calcium superphosphate and potash – can be used at 25-30 and 15-20 g/11 sq. ft. respectively. On heavy soils, only phosphorus-potassium fertilizer should be applied. This is due to Dill’s ability to accumulate nitrate. If groundwater is close to the soil, prepare the bed for Dill starting in the fall.
Dill seeds contain essential oils that prevent rapid germination. Therefore, soak the seeds in warm water for 2-3 days, changing the water every 4-6 hours, and then dry them in the room until they are loose. Germination is accelerated 10-12 days after germination, and seedlings appear on the 7th-8th day. If sown dry, it will emerge on the 15th-20th day.
For seeding, different schemes were used.
- In a row.
- In a band.
- In two and five rows.
- Planting in rows, banding, two and five rows, open furrow, etc.
Rows are spaced 10-20inch (25-50cm) apart and 1.2-1.6inch (3-4cm) apart. The sowing depth should not exceed 1.8-1.2inch (2-3 cm) on light soils and 0.6-0.8inch (1.5-2 cm) on medium and heavy soils.
If Dill will be used both for growing vegetables and for pickling at the last cut, it is better to sow in strips. The distance between rows of a strip is 8-12inch (20-30 cm), and the distance between strips is 16-20inch (40-50 cm).
The experience of sowing seeds in furrows was interesting. A 2inch (5cm) wide board was pressed into the flat watering area every 4-4.7inch (10-12cm) to a depth of 0.8-1.2inch (2-3cm). Form a 2inch (5cm) trench with an even bottom. Sprinkle Dill seeds along the bottom of the trench and cover with humus or soil.
As with early spring sowing, use dry seeds when sowing in winter. The germinated material is usually used for later sowing.
After sowing by any method, Dill should not be watered until germination. After germination, the first loosening of the soil is done at 2-2.7inch (5-7 cm), and subsequently, the loosening is deepened to 3-5inch (8-13 cm). At the stage of 3-4 true leaves, the first thinning is performed between plants at a distance of 1-2inch (2.5-5 cm).
In rows left for seed, immediately thin the plants by 3-4inch (8-10 cm). If the crop is planted intensively, repeat the thinning process after 5-7 days. Dill is cut into green leaves when plants reach 4-6inch (10-15 cm) tall. Dill reaches its maximum flavor before the inflorescence falls.
The older the plant, the stronger the flavor. The main care is to hoe and weed at the same time. Get rid of cocklebur and stubble before final harvest, as their seeds are difficult to separate from Dill during clearing and sifting.
Early cultivars do not require fertilization in the summer. Fertilizing the soil in the fall is sufficient for Dill. Dill plants (especially slow-growing plants) should receive a single application of nitrophos or urea at the 2-3 true leaf stage – up to 10-15 grams per 11 square feet.
Medium and late-maturing varieties with long growing seasons should receive two applications of fertilizer. The first application should be made at the same stage and rate as early maturing varieties, and the second 20-25 days later with a solution of urea and potash at doses of 20 and 15 grams per 2.5 Gal (10 liters) of water, respectively, planted in an area of 32-43 square feet. Avoid getting the solution on the plants during application. After application, plants should be thoroughly washed and watered liberally.
Keep crops moist throughout the growing season until harvest. Dry soils can lead to stunting, coarse foliage, and nitrate build-up. Over-watering will reduce the concentration of essential oils, and the fennel will lose its primary flavor. Water Dill once or twice a week. In hot, dry weather, water Dill with a fine mist to create an optimal microclimate.
CULTIVATION OF SHRUBBY DILL
The special biological structure of shrubby Dill determines its sowing and planting techniques. The above-ground parts of shrubby Dill varieties form lateral buds at the leaf axils, shrubby appearance. When they reach 1-2inch (2.5-5 cm), they are broken open and eaten.
The shrubby species have a habit of 5-10 feet (1.5-3 m) in height and about 40inch (1 m) in size. The shoots are well pubescent. Sufficient space is needed for the plants to form a bush. That is why these varieties are spaced 14-16inch (35-40 cm) apart in rows. Seeds are sown at 0.6-1.2inch (1.5-3 cm), leaving 2-2.4inch (5-6 cm) in between.
At this sowing density, three thinning operations are performed after the seedlings germinate. The first thinning is done when the plants reach 2inch (5cm), and the second and third thinning is done when they shade each other. After the third thinning, the bushes should be 10-12inch (25-30 cm) apart from each other. The shrub species have large leaves, which can reach 10-16inch (25-40 cm) in length. The rosettes of the lower roots are very dense.
When sown outdoors, the seeds of bush varieties do not mature in the intermediate zone. To obtain seeds, Dill is grown through seedlings. In March and April, seedlings are sown under a film greenhouse or frame. At the end of May, these seedlings will be moved to the open ground. Soil preparation and outdoor care are the same as for Dill.
PESTS AND DISEASES OF DILL
The most common diseases are downy mildew and false powdery mildew. The blackleg disease is less common. Root rot, leaf curl, an avascular bacterial disease, and other diseases can affect Dill if it is watered too much.
Trichodermin provides good protection against different types of dew and rot, and organic fungicides provide protection against blackleg. A unique agent is bio fungicide, which provides effective protection against several fungal diseases throughout the vegetation period. It is absolutely safe for humans. These products can be consumed the day after treatment. It is not less effective against diseases in hot and dry weather. There is one peculiarity. This biological preparation is not used in the vast majority of mixed tanks. Do not take any risks!
Among the pests, aphids, umbrella beetles, and ground fleas can cause damage. Aphids (in small amounts) can be washed off with a jet stream. Organic fungicides are very effective against fleas. Just spray the plants and soil. Organic fungicides can be easily mixed with other bio fungicides. However, additional compatibility testing may be helpful.
Application, rates, and timing of treatments can be found on the package of the bio fungicide or in the accompanying recommendations.
Harvest oilseed rape plants at technical maturity, at a plant height of 4-8inch (10-20 cm), either as a single or multiple plants. For a single harvest, wash the plants with water and cut the stumps down 0.8-1.2inch (2-3cm). Use fresh, dried, or frozen.
Dill umbrellas for curing are harvested during flowering and when the seeds begin to set. Hobbyists often harvest umbrellas with molded green seeds.
For seeds, when the central part of the inflorescence turns black, remove the umbels and finish maturing in a bed in the shade. When the seeds in the umbel are technically mature, the plant is gradually cut down. The mature material is threshed.
The seeds are dried and stored in cloth bags in a dry place. These seeds will retain their germination rate for 3-4 years. If dried in the sun, many of the umbrella seeds will be lost. Self-sowing (if the soil is not touched by fall preparations) can provide an early herb harvest for the following spring.
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