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Top of The Crops - Dill

Growing Dill in a Polytunnel

Dill is a delicious, fragrant and versatile herb that can be used fresh in a number of different recipes. It is a great addition to a polytunnel because it is not only a good culinary herb, it can also be helpful to repel pests and attract beneficial insects to your polytunnel.

Sowing and Growing Requirements for Dill

Dill does not like its roots to be disturbed and so it is usually best to direct sow it in April where the plants are to grow. Dill likes a location out of strong winds and a little sheltered, so growing it inside a polytunnel should be ideal. Dill should be sown some time between April and July. Sow thinly and just cover the seeds. The seeds are fairly easy to grow and do not take too long to germinate.

You should make sure to water regularly and not to let soil dry out entirely, but it is also important not to overwater. Dill can become overtaken by weeds if you are not careful, so weed well around these plants to reduce the competition. Look out for slugs and snails, who love eating this herb.

Dill will be a useful companion plant for a range of other vegetable and fruit crops, and herbs. For example, dill can be a good trap crop for aphids and can also attract beneficial predatory insects. However, be sure not to grow dill near fennel, as the two will cross-breed and create seedlings with unpleasant flavour. Dill is a tall herb and will look good at the back of your herb bed, or at the centre of a mixed polytunnel polyculture. Dill can also be grown in containers.

Harvesting Dill

Dill is most frequently grown for its leaves, which are often used in egg or fish dishes. You can cut leaves as and when they are required throughout the spring and summer months. Dill can be used fresh or frozen, and though not at its best when dried, it is possible to dry dill for use over winter.

Dill seeds are also harvested. Harvest the seeds when they begin to turn brown and ripen in the late summer or early autumn. Cut the stalks and put them in or on paper to dry fully. The seeds can then be removed from the stalk sections and stored in air-tight containers. The seeds can be used ground or whole and are utilised for curries and for dill pickles.

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