When is it better to plant dill before winter, and is it possible to do so?

Is it possible to plant dill before winter and when to do it? Experienced gardeners claim that in this case dill sprouts faster, grows better and produces a good harvest. Is it so? If you look at it, the famous spice belongs to the cold-resistant, long-day crops.

With proper sowing, dill seeds will calmly survive the winter, withstand March frosts without consequences and sprout vigorously in early spring, 10-15 days earlier than spring sowings.

What varieties of dill can be sown in autumn?

Garden dill comes in three types:

  1. Ordinary. The plant has a single stem with numerous leaves. An umbrella with seeds is formed at the top.
  2. Bush . At the base of the main stem, 5-6 internodes are formed, from which lateral stems develop.
  3. Densely leafy. The plant has one stem, but due to the large number of leaves, this dill resembles a small Christmas tree.

In these three categories, breeders have developed a great variety of varieties and hybrids with different ripening periods and distinctive characteristics. Before winter, dill of any variety is planted, but to achieve the best results, preference should be given to varieties with increased frost resistance, early and medium ripening periods:

  • Kharkovsky 85;
  • Atlant;
  • Ambrosia:
  • Shmaragd;
  • Umbrella;
  • Gribovsky:
  • Vologda lace;
  • Grenadier.

Fresh greens from the listed varieties are harvested 30-45 days after germination.


Redoubt is considered one of the most aromatic and rich varieties. Created by scientists for growing for herbs and spices. The variety is an early ripening variety, as full ripening occurs in approximately 39-41 days. It is best to plant seeds of this variety in late April-early May.

The plant is compact, the leaf rosette is slightly raised above the ground. It contains oblong, slightly dissected leaves of medium size, green color and strong aroma. They have a faint waxy coating.

From one bush, ready for pruning, you can collect up to 40 grams of greenery, and from 1 sq. m - 1.2-1.3 kg, inflorescences for spices - up to 2 kg.

After cutting, the Redoubt variety retains its freshness and taste for quite a long time, so it does not lose its presentation during long-term transportation.

The variety is recommended for fresh consumption, freezing and canning.

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How to choose the time for autumn planting before winter and when to prepare the beds

The timing of autumn sowing of dill depends on the climate of the region and weather conditions of the current period. If the autumn is too warm and the seeds are sown early, the seeds may germinate. The optimal sowing time is considered to be days when the daytime air temperature is within 0-3°C:

  • in the Moscow region: in November;
  • in Siberia and the Urals: in mid-late October;
  • in the south: in the second half of November – early December.

If for spring sowing the beds and the soil on them are prepared in the fall, then for winter dill the planting site is prepared in the summer, in mid-July - early August.

Preparing the beds

In order for dill sown in the fall to sprout vigorously and please you with a good harvest, several conditions must be met:

  1. For the garden bed, choose a sunny or slightly shaded area with light soil. The plant does not like shade and high soil moisture.
  2. A place where tomatoes, legumes, and cabbage used to grow would be perfect for him. Dill does not tolerate proximity to carrots and celery. Do not place it next to fennel, in which case the plants are cross-pollinated, and the taste of each of them changes greatly.
  3. Organic fertilizers are added to the open ground at the rate of 5 kilograms per square meter of area and dug up.
  4. The plant prefers neutral soils. On alkaline soils, greens acquire a reddish tint, on acidic soils they turn yellow.

After preparing the beds, you can cover them with cardboard or agro-fabric; this will keep the soil light and prevent weeds from germinating and compacting the soil.

Advantages and disadvantages of autumn planting

Planting dill in the fall before winter has many advantages:

  • the seeds will sprout 10-15 days earlier than spring sowings;
  • there is no risk of seeds freezing;
  • strong and friendly shoots;
  • plants will have stable immunity to diseases and adverse factors;
  • saving time on other work in the spring;
  • the opportunity to collect several harvests of greenery per season.

No significant disadvantages of the method were identified. There are certain risks that many gardeners consider disadvantages:

  • in unstable weather (sudden thaw in autumn) and inaccurate forecasts, there is a risk of untimely seed germination;
  • increased seed consumption (20-30% more);
  • the probability of seedling death in the spring due to recurrent frosts.

Climate nuances in the region

Before sowing dill, you need to sort out all the climatic features, since the conditions in this region are very different from the middle zone and warmer southern regions. To get a good harvest, it is important to foresee all possible problems and carry out the work correctly. The main differences are:

  1. The climate in the area is temperate, ranging from continental to oceanic. Summers are moderately warm, often cool, winters are mild, but there can be significant drops in temperature for several days or weeks.
  2. The main difference between the weather is its variability, since this region is affected by different air masses. Humid air comes from the sea, causing warming in winter and, on the contrary, cool periods in summer. Continental currents bring cold temperatures in the winter months and heat in the summer months. Arctic masses always provoke a drop in temperature.
  3. Temperatures can drop sharply, and even in summer there are frosts. The differences are up to 20 degrees per day.
  4. Due to the large area, conditions vary in individual areas. It is necessary to take into account all the features of the place where the dill will be planted.
  5. There are often strong winds and rain. There can be a lot of precipitation, which is dangerous due to flooding of plantations and their death.
  6. In winter, during prolonged thaws, the seeds get wet; if it gets colder sharply, they will die.
  7. Late spring. The snow melts until mid-April, so seedlings appear most often in May; during this period there is a danger of return frosts.

How to plant dill in the fall before winter

Winter sowing is somewhat different from traditional spring sowing. Knowing the secrets and subtleties of autumn planting, you can avoid many problems, because of which summer residents often abandon this method of growing.

Selecting a location

Dill prefers places well lit by the sun throughout the day (minimum duration of bright light - 12 hours), and soil rich in organic matter, light and neutral in acidity . It is difficult to grow lush emerald greens in acidic and poor soil. Such lands are cultivated in advance.

When choosing a place for dill, it is important to observe crop rotation. The best predecessors for it are cucumbers, early potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, white cabbage and cauliflower. You can’t sow dill after plants of its own Apiaceae family: cilantro, carrots, cumin and fennel.

Important! A bed brightly lit by the sun for a long time is required for winter dill. The snow will melt there faster than other places, the soil will warm up and seedlings will appear.

Seed preparation

The seeds are sown dry before winter. No pre-treatment, soaking or other pre-sowing procedures are needed. The seeds must be fresh: if they are collected from your own garden, then definitely this year.

Preparing the bed

Before you start preparing the soil for a crop, it is important to know exactly which soil, in terms of nutritional value and mechanical composition, predominates in the garden. To determine this in the field, there is such a test. Take a handful of earth and squeeze it into a fist.

If a soil lump easily falls apart into grains when you press on it, you have sandy loam soil. Soil with a high clay content is slippery and greasy to the touch. You can easily roll it into a sausage.

The acidity of the soil is indicated by weeds growing on it. Indicators of very acidic soils are:

  • field navel (one of the wild types of chamomile);
  • blueberry;
  • heather;
  • sorrel;
  • horsetail.

Having determined the type of soil and its acidity, two weeks before sowing, begin the following activities:

  1. The soil is dug up using a shovel and the weed rhizomes are removed.
  2. At the same time, it is limed (2-3 kg of lime for every 10 sq. m) and a complex of fertilizers is added (rotted manure, sifted wood ash, superphosphate and potassium chloride) - 20-30 g per 1 sq. m. m.
  3. Use a rake to level the soil well, breaking up all lumps.

Attention! Manure or compost applied to the soil must be completely rotted, otherwise the weeds will kill the seedlings.

Sowing pattern and depth

Dry seeds are sown in the soil according to the following scheme:

  • embedment depth - 3 cm;
  • distance between rows - 10-15 cm;
  • the distance between plants is 0.51 cm.

Other rules

Such a large depth of seed placement is not accidental. It is advisable that 1.5 cm be fertile soil, and the other 1.5 cm be a warm mulching layer. Peat, dry manure crumbs, and sawdust from deciduous trees are used as mulch for dill. Mulch not only retains heat and protects from frost, but also prevents the formation of soil crust after the snow melts.

Have you prepared a bed, but didn’t have time to sow—it snowed? No problem! You can also sow in December, during the first thaw. Lightly scatter 2-3 cm of snow, sow the seeds directly on the snow cover and cover with a layer of snow.

Seed preparation

When planting in autumn, no preliminary preparation for seeds is required. You just need to choose the appropriate variety. Planting material that is used in the fall should not be pre-soaked. In this case, dry seeds should be sown in dry soil, on previously prepared and fertilized beds. There is no need to water the soil after planting seeds in the fall, otherwise they will die when the temperature drops.

How to care for dill planted in the fall before winter

Unpretentious dill does not require extensive care. For a bountiful harvest, the seeds need to be properly wintered so that they do not rot or freeze. The choice of mulching and covering material depends on the winter temperatures of the region and the level of groundwater in the area.

The best material suitable for covering crops in any region is considered to be agrofibre, and peat mulch on top of it.

In the spring, when seedlings appear, crop care includes the following mandatory agricultural practices:

  1. Regular watering. It is important not to allow the top layer of soil to dry out. The frequency of watering is 1 time a day, on hot days - 2-3 times.
  2. Root feeding. Organic matter such as bird droppings or manure is used as fertilizer. For lush greenery, 1-2 feedings are enough for the entire growing season of the plant.
  3. Weeding of weeds. Weeds are the worst enemies of any green crop. Capable of active growth, they deprive cultivated plants of the necessary space in the sun and nutrients from the soil.
  4. Shelter on hot days from direct sunlight. Young dill shoots are very tender. If the weather is abnormally hot in the spring, canopies made of gauze or thin white lutrasil are built over the beds.
  5. Protection against pests is possible only with the help of traditional methods of control. To repel harmful insects, sprinkle the greens with tobacco dust or dry garlic powder mixed with sand in a 1:1 ratio.

Further care

When the frosts stop and the sun begins to warm the soil, you can fertilize the dill again. This is usually done in early April. A good stimulator of plant development would be a solution of cow manure in a ratio of 1 to 6, or a solution of chicken placenta, which should be diluted with water in a ratio of 1 to 20. It is recommended to fertilize the bed about 2 times before the beginning of summer.

To prevent possible cold weather, which sometimes occurs in early spring, from harming your harvest, the bed can be placed under a temporary cover made of spunbond, which is removed with the arrival of stable heat.

In the spring, in addition to cultivated plants, weeds also begin to wake up, so it is important to keep the garden bed clean, otherwise the grass may choke out the fragile sprouts of dill. In addition, in free ground the green bushes will be much more luxuriant. Inspection of the beds must be carried out once every 7 days.

Important! This crop can self-seed, so you need to wrap the ripening baskets of inflorescences, otherwise in the spring your garden may turn into a continuous dill bed.

Winter sowing has its advantages and disadvantages. Each owner decides for himself in what season to plant the crop, motivating his actions by the peculiarities of caring for the plant and the waiting period for the result. But the main advantage of this crop is its versatility and productivity, regardless of the chosen growing method.

Harvest and storage

Depending on the variety chosen, it takes from 25 to 50 days to grow fresh winter greens. Cutting dill begins at a height of 7 cm. If you grow greens for sale, wait until the height is 20-25 cm. The entire crop is harvested at once or as needed.

The collected greens are used for food and stored briefly in the refrigerator. For long-term storage, dill is dried or frozen. For freezing, the greens are washed to remove dirt and finely chopped. It is convenient to freeze the spice in ice containers to add portioned cubes to various dishes.

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