Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Bounty of Volunteer Dill

See that?  That's 12 oz. of dill.  Three-quarters of a pound.  And I did absolutely nothing to produce it except walk outside this morning and snip it off and put it in the herb drier.  (My house smells heavenly right now, by the way.)

Dill is a miracle of re-seeding itself, and I do nothing to stop it.  Although I harvest as many seeds as I can each fall for use as an herb and to purposely sew the next year's crop, I know I am always taking many seed heads with perfectly good seeds right back to the compost pile, where they wait all winter and come back up where I spread the fresh humus in the spring.  This year, it was in my containers for my peppers.

I always grow my peppers in my large outdoor containers, which means I don't transplant my seedlings until it gets reliably warm.  That means that even though I might prepare the containers as early as March, I don't really do anything with them until late May.  And this year, they sprouted a bumper crop of dill.

I cheerfully ignored it.  It was doing fine without me, and we had a garden to broadfork and seedlings to start and seedlings to set out and compost to sift and sod to bust.  The dill could take care of itself.

But this weekend I will be setting out my pepper seedlings, so I need my containers.  So this morning I walked out with my herb snips and came in with an armful of dill weed, just waiting for me to dry it, bottle it, and use it all winter in my cheesy potato soup.  It will lend a fresh, gourmet taste to whatever it is cooked in, and I didn't have to pay a dime for it.  Imagine if you tried to buy that much dried organic dill in the spice section of the grocery?  Imagine if you tried to buy three-quarters of a pound of fresh dill in those little plastic clam shells in the produce section!

I feel like I just got a windfall.  And I didn't have to do a thing.

The Analysis

Fast:  Total time invested thus far in my spring dill crop: 5 minutes for snipping.

Cheap:  I never count weight of my herbs in my "How Much Does a Garden Grow" tally, because generally weighing your herbs as they are harvested is a pain.  I will, however, count this in retail value when I tally up herb and spice savings at the end of the season.

Good:  Freshly grown, organic dill.  What can I say?
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