How to Harvest Dill [7 Tips for Sustainable Dill]

When you are growing dill, first decide whether you want dill leaves for fresh-cooked meals or dill seeds for pickling. When harvesting leaves, wait until the flowers are just about to open. Then, spray the leaves with water to clean them. Next, cut off up to one-third of the leaves on the plant. If you want to continue harvesting more leaves, prune off the flower buds and discard them—dill will die if you allow it to flower. However, if you want to harvest dill seeds, allow the flowers to open. Then, trim off the flower stems, dry them, and collect the seeds.

How to harvest dill

Does Dill Continue to Grow After Harvest?

Dill can continue to grow new leaves for up to two years as long as you follow two simple rules. First, never harvest more than one-third of the leaves at once. Second, do not allow the dill plant to flower.

  • Dill will continue growing after harvest if it is cultivated properly.
  • Never harvest more than one-third of dill leaves at once—taking too much will kill the entire plant.
  • Prune off dill buds before they flower—dill plants die after flowering.

Overharvesting will kill your dill plant quickly, which means no more fresh dill. Similarly, dill plants are biologically programmed to die after they flower and drop their seeds. So, the best way to keep your dill plant growing is to prune off flower buds just before they open.

What is the Fastest Way to Grow Dill for Harvest?

The quickest and easiest way to grow fresh dill in your home is with a Click and Grow indoor garden. Their Smart Garden provides all the light and water your plant needs (you just have to fill the water reservoir periodically). Plus, their dill pods are inexpensive and guaranteed to sprout. So, beginner gardeners can grow luscious dill on their first try.

  • Click and Grow indoor gardens are the easiest way for beginners to grow dill indoors.
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  • Dill can also be grown in indoor or outdoor gardens that receive full sunlight.
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You can grow dill indoors or outdoors in pots, raised beds, or an in-ground garden. These methods can take a little more trial and error, but with our guide to growing dill indoors you’ll get great results. Remember, dill weed needs full sun, so take this into account when you choose to grow dill.

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7 Tips to Harvest Dill the Right Way

Once you’ve got a thriving dill plant, it’s time to start thinking about how to harvest this flavorful herb. By following this guide, you’ll get homegrown dill and maintain a thriving plant.

Choose Seeds or Leaves

Before you harvest, it’s important to choose whether you want dill leaves or dill seeds. Fresh dill leaves are used as herbs in many dishes. Plus, you can continue to harvest leaves from a single dill plant for up to two years, so this is the most popular route.

  • Dill leaves are the most common use for homegrown dill.
  • You can use fresh-picked dill leaves to flavor seafood, vegetables, salads, dips, and dressings.
  • You can continually harvest dill leaves for up to two years.
  • Dill seeds are mostly used in pickling.
  • After dill flowers and produces seeds, the plant dies.
  • A dill plant grown for seed will die after about 8 weeks.

Dill seeds are most commonly used in pickling. They offer a unique flavor that can’t be beat. However, you can only get dill seeds if you allow your dill to flower. Once your plant flowers, it will die on its own. So, make certain to prioritize leaves or seeds before you plan your harvest.

Identify the Right Harvest Time

Dill leaves are ready for harvest six to eight weeks after planting. You can also use size as an indicator that your dill is ready for harvest. Once each dill stalk has four to five leaves and the plant is at least six inches tall (15 cm), you can harvest leaves without killing the plant.

  • You can begin harvesting dill leaves 6–8 weeks after planting.
  • Your dill plant should be at least 6 inches (15 cm) tall before you harvest any leaves.
  • Flower buds that are just about to open signify that your dill leaves are perfect for harvest.
  • If you want to harvest dill seeds, you must wait for the plant to flower.

It’s also a good idea to look for flower buds before harvesting your dill. Dill leaves are most flavorful just before the flower heads open. This is when there are the highest concentrations of oils in the leaves. So, if you see tightly wrapped buds on your dill stalks, it’s time to prepare for harvest.

Clean the Leaves Before Harvest

Once you know your dill is ready for harvest, mist the leaves gently with water. This will clean off any dirt and debris. It’s easier to clean the dill before harvest than after you’ve cut it.

  • Clean the leaves before harvest by misting them with water from a spray bottle.
  • This will wash off dirt and grime, so your leaves are ready for use as soon as you pick them.
  • Wait for the leaves to dry, then start harvesting.

After misting the leaves of your dill plant, allow them to dry. If conditions are moist or cool, wait 24 hours for the leaves to dry before you move on to the next step. But, if the leaves are dry in a few hours you can move on to harvesting.

Harvest Your Leaves

Use a pair of sharp, clean scissors to cut off individual dill leaves from their stalk. Remove only one-third of the leaves from each stalk. So, if one stalk has six leaves, remove no more than two of them. Cutting off too many leaves will kill the plant. Remove up to one-third of the plant’s total leaves during this process.

  • Cut dill leaves off their stalks with a pair of sharp scissors.
  • Remove a maximum of one-third of your dill plant’s leaves.
  • Harvest upper leaves for more flavorful dill and a healthier plant.

When cutting off dill leaves, cut them right where the leaf stem meets the main stalk. This results in a clean cut that the plant can recover from. There are several other reasons for removing the dill leaves at the top of the plant. They’re more tender and flavorful. Plus, trimming from the top encourages a healthy, bushy dill plant. Removing lower leaves results in leggy dill that flops over.

Remove or Leave Flower Buds

After harvesting your fresh dill leaves, locate the flower buds on the plant. If you want your plant to grow back and keep producing leaves, trim off the top portion of the stalk with yellow-green flower buds growing on it. If you allow your dill to flower, it will die. Pruning off the flowers will stop your plant from dying so it can keep growing fresh leaves.

  • Look for the tall flower stalks on your dill plant. They will have several bunches of yellowish-green buds.
  • Prune off flower stalks to stop your dill from flowering and dying.
  • If you want to harvest dill seeds, do not prune off flowers.

If you plan to harvest dill seeds, allow the flower buds to remain. Dill seeds are only produced when the flowers are allowed to bloom. You can, however, continue to harvest dill leaves until the plant finishes blooming.

Let Your Dill Recover

Once you’ve harvested your dill plant and pruned off any flower buds, wait for your dill to produce new leaves to replace the ones you took. If the plant is small or you harvested a large number of leaves, it can take weeks before your plant grows back. So, it’s best to keep your harvests small, so you can get fresh dill any time you need it.

  • Dill can be damaged or killed by too-frequent harvesting.
  • After you take dill leaves, allow the plant to grow new ones before harvesting them again.
  • Taking small quantities of leaves and cultivating a large dill plant allows you to harvest leaves more often.

Dill is most flavorful right after it is picked. So, it’s best to use fresh dill leaves. Rather than harvesting one-third of a plant’s leaves at once, then waiting weeks for it to bounce back, it’s best to harvest only a few leaves at a time. Take just enough for the meal you’re cooking. With this method, you can harvest dill one to two times each week.

Harvest Dill Seeds for Pickling

If you have decided you’d like to harvest dill seeds, allow your plant to flower. Once the flower petals wilt and the seeds have turned brown, cut the seed-bearing stems off your dill plant. Place the seed heads in a paper bag and leave them in a dry, sunny area indoors for one week. At this point, you can shake the stems to collect the seeds in the bag.

  • Allow your dill flowers to bloom to get dill seeds.
  • Once the petals have begun falling off the flowers, cut off the seed-bearing stems and put them in a paper bag.
  • After one week in the paper bag, shake the seeds free from the stems.
  • You now have dill seeds for use in pickling.

Dill stems have a tendency to flop over when they are flowering. When this happens, you’ll lose seeds on the soil surface. It’s best to stake your dill stems to keep them upright. A thin stick—such as a chopstick—driven into the soil will work. Then, use a twist-tie to gently secure the stem to the stake so it can’t fall over.

How Do You Harvest Dill so it Keeps Producing?

In order to harvest deal so it keeps growing and producing fresh leaves for up to two years:

  • Plan to harvest dill leaves only, not seeds. Your dill plant will die after producing flowers and seeds.
  • Begin harvesting dill 6–8 weeks after planting, when the plant is at least 6 inches tall (15 cm).
  • Spray the leaves with water and allow them to dry.
  • Use sharp scissors to cut off up to one-third of the plant’s leaves.
  • Prune off flower buds before they open.
  • After harvest, allow your dill to replace its leaves before harvesting again.

This method will allow you to grow a dill plant that keeps producing new batches of flavorful leaves. Just remember to always remove dill flowers. Once a dill plant is allowed to flower, there is no way to stop it from dying. Then, you’ll have to start over with a new plant.

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