Monday, July 11, 2016

Saving Dill Seed

If you have ever grown dill and let it go to seed, you are already a seed savers. Pretty easy, huh?  Congratulations! The hard part is remembering to harvest the seed so it doesn't self sow throughout your garden. I actually have dill scattered throughout my garden and pull it up where I don't want it.

Dill is a hardy annual grown both for it's leaves and seeds.  Dill leaves can be picked anytime.  They are delicious in sour cream dips, on vegetables, and potatoes.

If you plan on using a dill head in pickles, harvest when there are both flowers and unripe seeds.  Pickles are not the only way to use dill heads.  Try a dill infused vinegar.

 Dill seed is easy to save.  The seed can be saved for seed for next year. The seed is also used to flavor breads, pickles, and has medicinal uses. The seeds are a mild sedative and digestive aid.  Sucking on dill seeds can calm the digestive system. 

Dill water has long been used to calm colicky babies.  To make your own dill water, steep a teaspoonful of bruised seeds in a glass of hot water for  a couple hours.  Strain then sweeten the mixture.  Adults can take 1 Tbs and children 1 tsp.  (The Complete Book of Herbs and Spices)

The seed head of dill can also be dried and used as dill weed in cooking.  Add it at the end of cooking so the flavor is not lost in cooking.

 In my garden lace wings  (a beneficial insect)  love to lay their eggs on dill stems.  The larvae of the lace wing are voracious aphid eaters and therefor a gardeners friend. 

With so many uses dill seed is kind of a super seed and an easy way to start seed saving.

Below is a picture of lace wings eggs.  The look like lollipops.  The larvae look similar to lady beetle larvae.

Dill does not cross with any other veggies or herbs.  Different varieties of dill can be cross pollinated by insects.  If you want to try different varieties just wait to plant the second variety until he first has set seed.  This is called timed isolation.

A dill umbel or seed head.

Dill produces umbels.  Allow these to dry in the garden.  Harvest seed from fully mature dry umbels ( the seeds will be brown) whose stems are slightly green. Pick the entire umbel and place over trays to catch the seed.  Store the seed in a cool dry place if you are planning to replant.  Dill seed can be stored up to 5 years.  Remember germination rates decline with each year.

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