Fernleaf Dill is smaller than the standard and survives windy areas like mine better than full size dills. It also fits into smaller gardens better and more plants means a broader DNA base for healthy seeds and plants. I am growing picking cucumbers this year, so of course I need Fernleaf Dill.
Even so, the very best thing about Fernleaf Dill is that it is a host plant to Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies. They may be insects, but they pass for magic in my garden… and pollinators too. I am starting six plants just in case I get a lot of caterpillars (wishful thinking). If I have too many, I will hand transfer the little munchers to one or two plants.
Mid summer, I will start more plants for seeds to save over winter for sprouts, cooking, and a digestive aid. The second sowing is best for seed saving. If lucky, the last sowing might seed out next year’s plants, becoming a landrace species for my food forest.
I use Fernleaf Dill leaves for salads, especially potato salad and as a change of taste for greens. The greens are yummy in a sandwich and anywhere you use dill pickles. If I have enough leaves, I make a sun infused oil from them, which is good in salad dressing. Fernleaf Dill leaves are quite nutritious, with a broad variety of minerals, and Vitamins A and C. If you want more pungeance, grow Dukat Dill, but it is big and probably needs staked.
Weather variations may cause your dill to bloom early, and if you cut blooms off the plants last longer. Since I really want seeds, I will let it go to seed unless the plant has caterpillars, then I will cut blooms and have a second sowing for seeds for me.
If you are saving seeds, don’t plant Fernleaf Dill and fennel at the same time, they crossbreed to poor results. They are generally pollinated by bees and you might try planting fennel early and skip the first Fernleaf dill planting. Fernleaf dill is a good companion for corn, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Keep it away from carrots because it inhibits carrot growth.
Because Fernleaf Dill seeds settle digestive upsets when you nibble on a few, or you drink a tea or infusion, I like to save plenty of seed. My Dallas garden had naturalized Fernleaf Dill plants; I hope my New Mexico garden will too.