Dill is one of my very favorite culinary herbs. But you won’t find it planted in my herb garden. Instead, I use it as a pretty, fast-growing filler in my vegetable beds and perennial borders. Dill (Anethum graveolens) grows to about three feet tall in the space of 10 weeks and its canary-colored flowers seem to dance above the plants’ feathery foliage.
This easy-to-grow herb develops a long taproot, so it’s best to sow dill from seed right in the garden, where it germinates quickly. Dill’s foliage, also known as “dill weed,” tastes best before the plant flowers. For a consistent supply of leaves, make successive sowings in mid-April, late May, and the first part of July. I often interplant dill with zinnias because its delicate flowers compliment the bigger, bolder zinnia blooms and dill’s fine foliage disguises the zinnias’ leaves when they inevitably mildew in late summer.
In addition to being pretty and tasty, the easy-to-access nectar and pollen in the dill blossoms attract parasitic wasps and other pollinators to the garden.
As the summer progresses, be sure to allow a few of your dill plants to produce seeds, which you can use to flavor pickles. To encourage dill to grow in your garden year after year, simply harvest a few seed heads and shake them into bare spots in your sunny perennial borders. With any luck, the dill will sprout when the time is right, no work required on your part.
Spoon a few tablespoons of this flavorful spread into a pita and stuff it with garden fresh veggies for a quick and tasty summertime meal.
1 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta
¾ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon minced dill
1 clove garlic
Combine ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.