Dill is a funny plant. It feels tickly and has a very strong taste. Gran and Auntie Ruth use it a lot when cooking our meals. Mum cooks fish for me and my sister every Friday, and adds the Dill to help it taste even better.
Dad says that it is good for the goats. Whenever we are out on the hills and we find a dill bush, we herd the goats over to it – although the goats easily find it themselves because of its strong smell!
Grow your dill
Dill grows long roots, so if you are growing in a plant pot or container make sure that it is quite deep.
Sow seeds in shallow 1/2 inch (1cm) deep rows and lightly cover with soil.
Make sure the soil is damp, but not too wet.
After 10 – 14 days, you should begin to see some green leaves.
Once they are growing, dill does not like to be moved so make sure that there is plenty of room between each plant for them to grow.
For older children
Dill is a herb mainly used for flavouring in stews and soups. The plant can also be used to attract caterpillars and other predatorial animals to help get rid of any garden pests. Dill should be planted in springtime, as the weather is beginning to get warmer and drier, and there is less likely to be rain and frost.
When we were looking at cumin we came across this passage from the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament).
25 When they have levelled its surface,Isaiah 28:25-27 (NRSV)
do they not scatter dill, sow cummin,
and plant wheat in rows
and barley in its proper place,
and spelt as the border?
27 Dill is not threshed with a threshing-sledge,
nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin;
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
and cummin with a rod.
It probably does not refer to the plant that we, today, call dill. Instead it is more likely to be a plant called black cumin. Even today, in some places, the seeds are harvested by hitting the plants with a wooden stick so that the seeds drop to the ground.
However, the plant we are growing here can be found in the Bible. Dill, like the other herbs and spices mentioned in the passage, were important and valuable. They were used in cooking, but they also had (or were thought to have) medicinal properties and could heal different diseases and keep people healthy. This is why they were sometimes included as objects that could be ‘tithed’ – given to God.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others.Matthew 23:23 (NRSV)