The blue-green, feathery foliage of annual dill grows 2' — 4' tall and provides a soft, lacy background for some of the smaller herbs. When in flower, dill supports graceful umbels of tiny yellow blossoms.
Dill is an easily grown annual that may be started from seed. Sow in a well-drained, sunny location, and thin the seedlings to 8" — 10" spacing's. Successive dill plantings may be made from April through July. Dill will self-sow for the next season if a few plants are left to scatter their seeds. The dill foliage can be dried by hanging the stems upside down. When dry, the foliage is quite brittle but still fragrant.
Both the leaves and seeds of dill have many culinary uses. The leaves and umbels of dill are a traditional favorite for pickling, but they can be used with a wide range of foods. Dill leaves provide a pleasantly strong seasoning when chopped into garden salads, cottage cheese, potato salads, meat or fish dishes, soups, stews, and sauces.
Add dill seed to breads, omelets, egg salad, baked fish, and legume dishes. To harvest the dill seeds, allow the plant to mature until seeds ripen to a light brown color. Pick and dry them immediately or the seeds will shatter and fall to the ground. The dried blooms can be used in wreaths, garlands, or potpourris.
Dill is reputed to have a calming effect on the digestive tract. It was once given to crying babies, thus deriving its name from the Old Norse, dilla, meaning "to lull." Dill is also reputed to cure hiccups, stomach aches, insomnia, and bad breath. Dill's most famous culinary use— the Dill pickle— is at least 400 years old.