Mammoth Dill

rita_abendJuly 5, 2009

Hi everyone,

I planted Mammoth Dill seeds about 6 weeks ago. I transferred them about 3 weeks ago and they took well. They now are about 3 feet tall and are starting to bloom seeds.

Here are my problems..

First, the plants are tall but they have very few dill leaves. About 6-8 inches separates each leaf. Since I like (and want) a lot of leaves, is there anything I can do to improve this? If I cut back on the height, will the plant grow wider or fuller? Or, do I need a different type of dill?

Second, the plant is already blooming seeds. Is it normal for the seeds to come this soon? Do the seeds form all season long? Last, year I planted Mammoth Dill seeds, but I started late in the season. After the seeds started the plant began to die. Will the plant die after the seeds form? Other than harvesting seeds for next year, I do not need seeds.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Rita Abend

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I have several dill types. Mammoth dill has less green fern leaves compared to the shorter 'fernleaf' type. Fernleaf type grows to about 1-3 feet tall. Mammoth will reach over 5 foot. The light green/yellow heads are tiny flowers, not seeds yet. The seeds form a few more weeks from now and are at first swelled, oval shaped and green color, then dry a bit and turn tan color as they age. Once thay reach that stage if not plucked, the seeds can drop and sprout up the next year. I have not planted a single dill in over two years and some plants near my wild bird seed area are big stalks about as big around as mu index finger. These are 5 foot and are almost ready to form seeds. In pickling, using the swelled green seed heads and weed are both great for dill flavor. For things like potato salad, just use the dill weed. I dried a huge batch 2 years ago and vacuum sealed it in 2 one quart canning jars and its still quite strong smelling and tasting, as well as being bright green. Without a vacuum seal, it would fade in color and flavor. I may toss it all out in favor of doing a new batch this year, but its a bit of work, and my cukes are not yet producing. Dill doesn't transplant well so you can sow seeds in late fall and they are usually one of the first herbs to start sprouting in spring. The seeds don't seem to be too sensitive to exteme cold winters here. If I plant seeds in spring, right now, they would be starting to form flower heads in a few more weeks. No new leaves or branches will develop if you harvest the leaves, so they are not like you see with tomatoes and basil. The leaves start to die off once the flower heads develop and then most of the leaves are going to die soon after seeds are forming. Harvest the green leaves now. I use a Food Saver attachment that attaches to the top of a canning jar and holds a metal lid captured inside. Once the vacuum is pulled, you pull the vacuum hose and a 'slug' of air rushes in, but it causes the lid to get sucked on tight to the canning jar, and that remains under vacuum for a long time. Usually in pickles, you put in whole seed heads per jar. As mentioned, in their swelled green stage, they tend to offer a stronger taste. If leaves are now yellowing, the may either e reaching seed maturity, or the plants are being watered too much. adding a slow release nitrogen will help to give the dil ab it more color and robust leaves, but it needs to get applied early on.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:43PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Dill is short-lived, 6 to 8 weeks is about how long they live. Once the plant begins to flower and form seeds it is near death and won't produce any more foliage. Cutting it back at this stage will not prolong its life and you won't get any seeds.

To have dill weed (leaves) all season long, you need to sow seeds every few weeks.

Dill transplants just fine, as long as it hasn't already reached the useful end of its life. I transplant hundreds every year.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:31AM
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My regular short/leaf dills have been gone for about 8 weeks now. But the mamoth ones are still there , with lots seeds and new seed umblellas. When they were young, I harvested some green off of them. But now, I just want their seeds for pickls and cooking.
So, the mamoth dills are not suitable for getting green dills.
I will plant some leafy dills for fall, maybe in Augus. It is toooo hot here now.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 12:54AM
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It seems from your responses that the fern dill provides more leaf growth than the mammoth dill.

Rita Abend
Married to JJ
1 Daughter
Loves gardening, sewing, homeschooling

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:35AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

ksrogers, what do you seal inside those canning jars  the leaves or seeds? Do you refrigerate them? How long do they keep for?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:39PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The dried seeds go into one jar and the dried leaves crumbled go into another. No refrigeration necessary. I also use a stronger vacuum pump compared to the one used on a Food Saver machine. My pump has a big moisture trap and can actually crack the rectangular Food Saver containers, so I don't use those. I find that even the big gallon sized FS containers can fracture near the center of the lid where the vacuum hose it attached to a knob that shuts off the vacuum inlet. I also use the larger containers for marinating meats and brining beef and chicken. For dill they work great and I even have some grated cheese stored in one in the fridge and never see any mold. For dried herbs, they have to be totally dry before placing in the canning jar. I also use the same method to make pickled pepperoncini, only because they cannot be home canned using any boiling water bath, as they quickly change to mush. The big moisture trap prevents any liquids from getting ito the pump. Recently, I changed from a dual diaphram pump to a dual piston pump, for a faster vacuum.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:27AM
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Yank the seeds/flower clusters as soon as you see them, maybe stake the plants & let them continue to grow.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:48AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The leaves start to die out once the flower heads form. Soon after, the leaves are not green anymore and are useless, so you would be picking the whole swelled green seed heads for pickles, or allow them to mature to the flat tan color. In any case, no new foliage will ever emerge.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 6:41PM
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>Yank the seeds/flower clusters as soon as you see them, maybe stake the plants & let them continue to grow.

Hi tn_veggie_gardner,

Yes!! I have been trying this for a few days now. I see a few new leaves starting. Hopefully the plants will not die.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 5:54PM
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Rita: I'm doing it to one of my Mammoth Dill Weed plants & letting the other go to seed. I want the dill to use off the one & the seed to use off the other. =)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 7:07PM
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