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HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

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HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  middlemamma on Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:04 pm

I was going to try dill come spring and again I am amazed at all the different varieties to grow.

I learned from a thread on here that only one kind of fennel bulbs up...I wouldn't have caught on to that until it was too late if it hadn't have appeared here.

So I am kinda wondering what kind of dill do you grow and is there anything special about the different varieties I shoud know before I decide?

I plan to use it in pickling mostly. I'd love to hear what you do with yours?

Jen
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  Megan on Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:19 pm

Are you trying to grow fennel, or dill?
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  middlemamma on Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:03 pm

Dill....

I was just saying how I learned a really important fact about fennel on here and I want to know if there are any of those for dill as well. Very Happy
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  acara on Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:12 am

Fernleaf Dill (Anethum graveolens)

40–60 cm (16–24 in), with slender stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm (0.79–3.5 in) diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.

I just use it for pickles
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Dill

Post  ander217 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:32 am

I've only grown two kinds, the old Mammoth or Long Island Dill which can grow to five feet tall, and I also grew Thai dill which only reaches about 18 inches. I much prefer the Mammoth for pickling. It doesn't have a lot of foliage, but it has always produced enough for my needs and I often dry it. Beware, however, that Mammoth readily reseeds itself if you don't pick every single seed head. Next spring I am putting in a special dill bed in one corner of my garden like my Grandma used to have where the unused plants may perpetually reproduce to their heart's content.

This article discusses the three types of dill:

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/different-varieties-of-dill-explained

It says there are three types - Dukat, Fernleaf, and Long Island or Mammoth.

Dukat is grown mainly for its foliage (dill weed) although the seeds can be used, too. A new variety, Superdukat came out in 1997 with more essential oils.

Fernleaf only grows to 18 inches (Thai dill must come under this category.) It is used mainly for flower arrangements. (Acara, did you have success with this one for culinary use?)

Long Island or Mammoth dill is the one usually used for pickling, and its seeds are the ones commonly found on herb and spice racks. It grows to five feet and the umbrels can be saucer-sized. (I love to see the waving heads of a dill "forest".)

Parsley worms love dill. I always sacrifice a few plants to them in order to get the lovely black swallowtail butterflies.
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  acara on Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:23 pm

Fernleaf only grows to 18 inches (Thai dill must come under this category.) It is used mainly for flower arrangements. (Acara, did you have success with this one for culinary use?)

Yes .... but "success" = "didn't die from it"

Home Depot had it ----> I grew it ---> It lived ---> I ate it ----> nobody died

I really don't have anything to compare it too, so I can't recommend goodness/badness

It grew like a champ though ... and I thought my pickles were yummy....if that counts for anything.

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dill

Post  ander217 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:49 pm

@acara wrote:It grew like a champ though ... and I thought my pickles were yummy....if that counts for anything.

That counts for everything in my book. I'll have to give it a try.

I was told that interplanting dill among tomato plants will repel tomato hornworms. I couldn't imagine planting 5-ft. tall dill next to my tomatoes. Fernleaf may be the answer.

Another site I read online said that dill and fennel when in bloom attracts yellow jackets and hornets which wipe out whole populations of cabbage worms and hornworms. Perhaps that is why someone thought they repel the worms. Instead the wasps are taking them home for a family feast.
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  Megan on Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:17 pm

I bought some dill plants this year (I forget which type, Mammoth I think, though) and while I got some seed heads, it did not grow anywhere near what I expected it to get to. It re-seeded on its own, though, and I have a little plant now that is struggling gamely against the frosts.
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  Chopper on Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:20 pm

I couldn't tell you what kind of dill i grow or if there are significant differences in type and final product. But I can tell you that dill was one of the biggest treats to have in the garden. It kills me to use dry dill now because fresh dill is SOOOOOO good.

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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  Miss Mousie on Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:02 am

So if I want to grow dill for the spice (weed & seed). Would I want Mammoth or Ducat. I'm thinking that I want to grow it in a separate container other than one of my sq ft garden beds. It sounds like a tall plant but is it also a busy plant and will I end up with volunteer dill plants all over the place? I guess that's not too bad if that's the case.
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  GloriaG on Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:48 am

I planted fernleaf and loved it - until the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar hit.
First there was one, then two, then twenty, then.........

Although swallowtail butterflies are desirable, Dill is a host plant for the species.
We apparently live in their migratory route and NOTHING I did seemed to help.

Next year I'm planting inside a net tent.

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Dill varieties

Post  ander217 on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:26 am

@Miss Mousie wrote:So if I want to grow dill for the spice (weed & seed). Would I want Mammoth or Ducat. I'm thinking that I want to grow it in a separate container other than one of my sq ft garden beds. It sounds like a tall plant but is it also a busy plant and will I end up with volunteer dill plants all over the place? I guess that's not too bad if that's the case.

MM, I did more research on the 'net, and apparently all dill types produce weed and seed which can be used in cooking and pickling, but there are differences in growth habit and flavor.

Mammoth, or Long Island, which can grow to over five feet tall, is reputed to have the most pungent flavor, making it a favorite for pickles. Fernleaf has ample foliage with a tangier taste and it is a favorite for fresh cooking purposes. It only grows to about 18 inches tall and it is very slow to set seed so it isn't the first choice for pickling. I've never grown Dukat, but according to seed catalog descriptions Dukat makes more foliage than the others, and its taste is described as "sweet, light, and delicate, never pungent or bitter". It grows 18-24" tall, and it is also slower to set seed than Mammoth, although according to the descriptions it will reseed itself. Mammoth readily reseeds itself. Very readily. Very, very readily.

So, it would seem that if one wants dill for pickles, Mammoth is best because it has a pungent flavor and quickly goes to seed. If one wants abundant dill leaves for fresh cooking, Fernleaf or Dukat produce more foliage, with the choice depending on whether one wants a sweet or a tangy flavor.

In addition there are newer varieties such as Superdukat or Hercules which are improved strains, and there are many local varieties such as Thai dill which are being discovered in isolated regions of the world. (That explains why I couldn't find whether Thai dill was a Fernleaf or Dukat type. Apparently it is a regional type all its own and has very specific culinary uses, such as serving with oysters. My uneducated palate wasn't impressed with it.)

Bouquet is a tall variety similar to Mammoth which has more foliage than Mammoth and grows only to 30-36". I'd never heard of it but apparently it's the most widely grown variety of all for dill seed. It sounds as though it might be the best compromise of both worlds if one wants to grow only one dill for both weed and seed. It is only slightly less pungent than Mammoth but produces more dill weed.

I think next year I'll grow Mammoth in a corner bed of my garden where it can reseed itself, to use in pickles, and I'll grow Fernleaf in my tomato box as a companion plant to attract predator wasps and to cut for dill weed.

They say the poorer the soil, the more intense the dill flavor, which is another consideration when deciding whether or not to grow in Mel's Mix.
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  Miss Mousie on Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:31 am

Wow ander217!!! Thanks for all of the research. That helps a lot. I have so much studying to do for my 1st spring garden.
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Re: HERBS: What kind of dill do you grow?

Post  madnicmom on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:44 pm

thank you Ander. My daughter wants to make dill pickles this year and you've just compiled the best information for me. Mammoth it is and locating in it's own box. lol!
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