Dill Plant(67325)
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/3868436474/

Growing your own herbs has numerous benefits.  First, you will save money every week on your grocery bill.  Second, you taste buds and guest’s tastes buds will thank you.  Fresh herbs are like vegetables – the fresher the more flavorful.  Third, you will expand your culinary skills.  Before you know it, you will have too much of a herb and need to scour the Internet for useful recipes. 

Start Growing Dill:

Growing dill is a very easy way to start growing your own herbs.  It is a simple herb that does not have much maintenance.  Dill is a universal herb and can help flavor a variety of different dishes.  Dill is a primary ingredient in pickling and with rosemary, it complements red skinned potatoes wonderfully.  Or if you are after a meal even simpler, then sprinkle dill, salt and pepper on a grilled white flakey fish. 

When you start growing dill, you will need to consider where to plant it.  Dill will grow in a medium sized terra cotta or other pot or outside in the ground.  If planting in the ground make sure the frost season is over.  Dill, like most herbs, need to have good moisture control throughout the soil, so make sure your pot has a hole in the bottom for draining.  If not, you can simply drill a hole in the bottom of the pot (just make sure you are using the correct drill bit).  When growing dill directly in the soil outside, make sure that the soil is healthy.  If not, purchase some nutrient rich soil at your local garden or hardware store. 

Choosing where to put the dill plant or pot containing dill is another important step.  Dill is a sun worshipper.  Make sure it has plenty of sunlight and it will produce lots of dill stems.  If growing dill in a pot, you obviously will want it near a window.  You can continue growing dill throughout the winter, however make sure that the window doesn’t leak cold air and damage the plant. 

Harvesting Dill:

Now that your plant is flourishing, it is time to start harvesting the plant.  Growing dill will produce two products:  dill weed and dill seed.  Dill weed is simply dill leaves.  You can pick the leaves off of the plant at any point even after the plant has flowered.  To harvest the dill seed, let the plant flower and seedlings will dry as the flower concludes it cycle.  Cut off the stalk of the dead flowers and remove the seeds from the top. 

Cooking with Dill:

Now that your kitchen is over flowing with dill, it is time to start using it!   One of the best methods of using dill is in combination of potatoes.  A great and easy way to start using dill is in a roasted red potato with rosemary and dill side dish.  To make you simply dice the potatoes and put into a large mixing bowl.  Then add a few tablespoons of dill and rosemary (the more herbs you add the more flavorful it will be).  Finally, drizzle olive oil over the top of the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Mix the potatoes thoroughly so they are evenly coated.  Then spread on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes.  

There are many recipes that require dill, so do not stop at potatoes.  As you feel more confident with your gardening skills, advance to more herbs like rosemary, basil, and chervil.