Organic Emily

Growing and Using Herbs: Dill

Growing and Using Herbs: Dill

Right now in my garden, dill is at it’s peak of foliage just before going  to flower and seed in the next few weeks!   These tender leaves make a delicious and refreshing addition to many dishes including eggs, salads and fish.  Once it begins to flower, it adds a charming and whimsical addition to the garden, attracting beneficial insects and deters some of the bad bugs!

Companion Planting with Dill

In any vegetable garden, dill can benefit the members of the cabbage family, onion family, lettuce, corn, and cucumbers.  Avoid planting it with carrots and tomatoes. Many of the same insects that benefit vegetables will also benefit flowers through pollination.   Dill attracts wasps, hoverflies, tomato horn worms and honeybees.  Dill also repels aphids, mites, cabbage loopers and squash bugs. It is also one of the few annuals that can be planted with fennel which should be avoided by almost everything else.  Next year I plan on planting dill around my plum tree, currants and honeysuckle to keep the aphids away!

How to Plant Dill

Dill is probably one of the easiest things to grow!  It is another water-wise plant that needs full sun and well draining soil.   Add a little organic matter like compost to your soil to help with keeping the soil lose and free from compaction.  Dill germinates well in soil that is 60`-70` and can be planted from mid spring to early summer.  It can grow in 6 hours of sun, but will do well with more.  Dill self seeds, so you can expect it to return next year provided the soil conditions are the same.  Plant dill next to flowers with a variety of color.  Its light green stem and yellowish green flowers contrast nicely with flowers that produce dark petals, making the garden jump in color. If garden aesthetics are what you do best, sprinkle dill seeds in a variety of locations throughout your flower garden. The bouquet of flowers accentuated by sprigs of green leaves allow the vibrant colors of the flowers to stand out.  Dill not only looks beautiful but also adds a lovely fragrance to the garden.

Harvesting Dill

The best time to harvest dill is when the weather is cool or in the morning just like other herbs.  Cut the flower heads after they begin to go to seed, but be sure to let some complete the life cycle to reseed the ground or save for the following year to be placed in an intentional part of your yard.  A dill harvest is another advantage of growing this herb.  If you enjoy making pickles, grow plenty of dill. For each jar of dill pickles, at least two flower heads and several sprigs are necessary.  Dill can be planted in mid spring to early summer.   I recommend planting both times so that if you do like to pickle cucumbers, you’ll have some around for when the cucumbers are ready.

I love the flavor of dill!  Here are just a few of my favorite recipes!  Next time you make a green salad, throw some dill in, you will be delighted!

 

Salmon Pasta Salad with a Feta, Dill and Lemon Dressing

Salmon Orzo Pasta with a Feta, Dill and Lemon Dressing

6 cups water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 (1 1/4 pound) skinless salmon fillet
olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in large bowl.  Add the pasta to the water and cook according to directions on package.  In the meantime, drizzle salmon with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Broil  for 5 minutes or until salmon is flaky.  Set aside once finished.  Add chopped onions, feta cheese, dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste into the asparagus.  Add fish and drained pasta.  Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.  Recipe from Cooking Light, Fresh Food Fast. pg. 105
Eggs, Lemon, Dill and Toast

Fresh Eggs and Greens from the Garden with Whole Grain Organic Toast and Lemon Dill Dressing

Garden Egg Sandwich
1-2 pieces of good whole grain bread (I like to make my own or use Dave’s Organic Bread from Costco)
Fresh greens
Fresh egg, cooked to your liking
Lemon dill vinaigrette (recipe below)
2 teaspoons fresh Parmesan (optional)
Lemon Dill Vinaigrette
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

When it comes to potato salads, I haven’t found very many worthy of putting into my mouth.  I’m just not a fan!  However, I did try this one from Barefoot Contessa and fell in love!  It not only taste fabulous but is pretty too!

3 pounds small red potatoes
kosher salt
1 cup good mayo
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup medium-diced celery
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife.  Drain potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel.  Leave the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, Dijon and whole-grain mustards, dill, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.   When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size.  Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.  Add the celery and red onion.  Refrigerate for a few hours or up to a day to allow the flavors to blend.

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, Mom of 4 cute kids, Yoga instructor and very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients and her escapades as the keeper of both backyard chickens and honeybees!

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