Not only does dill add a zesty punch to your garden-fresh meals, but it's also a beautiful herb beloved by swallowtail butterflies, which is why I grow dill in my raised beds and in my pollinator garden. Dill plants are forgiving of most gardening conditions and are fast growers (they can easily reach several feet tall in your garden).
Dill loves cooler weather. For those of you with milder winters, your dill will most likely thrive until warm weather arrives again and sends it to seed. Wherever you're growing and whatever season you're in, your dill will likely start to flower once the weather gets warm. Leave those flowers to be enjoyed by the butterflies, and then return to save the seeds as a fun fall activity.
Here's how to save tons of dill seeds from your flowers so that you have dill for life. Sound like a good dill?
step one to save dill seed - harvest
When dill begins to focus its energy on producing seed instead of growing more leaves, it'll produce little yellow flowers. Those flowers then close to form lime green seed pods. Allow these lime green seed pods to continue hanging out on your plant. Within a couple of days, the lime green pods will fade to a light beige color, and over a couple more days, transition to a brown color. Brown seed pods are ready to be harvested.
In addition to color, you can also check for moisture or softness. If the pods don't feel dry to the touch, then they're not quite ready because they're still retaining water.
Holding a bowl underneath, cut the dry seed heads from the stems of the plant.
step two to save dill seed - remove seeds
Bunch the seed heads together with your fingers to encourage the seeds to detach from the seed head. Each dill plant will produce four to eight seed heads at least, and each seed head will probably contain 200 to 300 seeds.
That's the magic of the garden. Once you get plants started, they're on a mission to reproduce themselves over and over again. They do so much of the work for you!
Allow your seeds to sit for another day or two to ensure they're fully dried out.
step three to save dill seed - store
Once you've got the seeds separated, you have a couple of different options to store them for next season. I like to order a sleeve of seed packages from Southern Exposure. Each package comes with adhesive to secure the seeds inside. You could also save your seeds in a brown paper bag. Whatever container you use, make sure to label it with where you got the seeds from and the date of harvest.
Keep your seeds in a nice, dry place.
I also love to use dill seeds as a flavoring on salads and soups, especially in the wintertime when I'm craving garden-fresh greens. I pour seeds into a spice shaker and store with the rest of my seasonings in the kitchen.
If you have kids, get them outside and involved in saving dill seeds with you. It's a great activity to teach them about a plant's life cycle, they'll get to see what seeds actually look like, and they'll have something to do with their hands besides playing on their iPhone.
I hope that this little lesson on harvesting dill seed has opened your eyes to the magic of the garden and inspired you to save lots of dill seeds, whether you're at the beginning of your gardening journey or you’re a garden pro. Gardenary is a place where you can learn and grow to the next level in your kitchen garden experience.
Like I said, pretty big dill, right?
Learn the step by step to set up, grow, and harvest your own delicious, organic herbs right from your own beautiful herb garden in our popular online gardening course, Herb Garden Guide, available inside your Gardenary 365 membership.