It’s a herb grow in most parts of the world, used to make soup and pickling. Its becoming a popular herb in Kenya to most farmers due to escalating demand in Hindi hotels in cities and export markets.
This article focuses to give farmers a clear guide on how to grow and manage the crop at ease. The term crop in this article will refer to dill to avoid repetitions which may be boring.
Soils and pH– well adapted to a variety of soils, loamy, sandy loam and clay soils but sandy soils are the best, the crop grown under such soil have good flavor. The soil must be free draining with pH ranging from 4.5 to 6.5
Rainfall– require low rainfall from 650mm to 1000mm
Light requirements-plant the crop in places that receive 6-8hrs sunshine being a short-day plant.
Should be one during the dry spell, land should be ploughed deeply to remove all weeds especially the troublesome perennials. The land should be harrowed to a fine tilth desired for vegetable and herb production. Well decomposed organic manure should be thoroughly incorporated into the soil and mixed with any phosphatic fertilizer if the soil is said to be phosphorus deficient or its levels are low.
Planting should be done during the rains to reduce watering labor, all the same the crop can do even better under controlled irrigation. The crop should be propagated using seeds, sown at a spacing of 30cm by 30cm by 45cm. the crop can be planted near onion or cabbage fields but not parsley or carrot fields as they are related hence there might be pest and disease control challenges.The seeds will take 10-14 days to germinate, after germination the plants should be thinned in the next 14 days.
Water the plants freely during the growing season.
In order to ensure a season-long fresh supply of dill, continue sowing seeds every few weeks. For an extended harvest, do not allow flowers to grow on the plants.
If the soil remains undisturbed throughout the growing season, more dill plants will grow the next season.
The field should be kept weed free throughout the growing period. Mechanical weeding is more preferable as the weeds are eradicated in the best manner, manure is incorporated into the soils and water infiltration is improved.
Pest and disease control
Leaf spot is the main fungal disease noted in dill production though its rare if field hygiene is observed keenly.
Dill caterpillar strikes during young stages of crop development and may extend to harvesting period, the pest damages the soft tissues especially young leaves. Appropriate chemical can be used if the damage is substantial to lower yield and quality attributes.
The operation should be done 70 days after planting for foliage and 90 days for seeds. The leaves should be snipped off for use in soups or salads. For pickling cut the whole stalk when the plant is more mature
Harvested leaves or stalks should be pre-cooled to remove field heat, then they should be placed in shade to avoid rapid moisture loss especially when meant for pickling/salad making.
Sorting and grading should be done, remove overgrown leaves and stalks, and those with pest feeding marks as they are of low quality
Those for export, cold chain will be necessary and proper packaging in order to ensure quality attributes are maintained.