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Volume 15, Issue 36 ~ September 6 - September 12, 2007

Plant Dill Now for Cool Weather Seasoning

Harvest this herb for the holidays and beyond

There is nothing like the taste of fresh dill on potatoes, stewed tomatoes, steamed carrots or your favorite salad.

During the summer months when days are long, dill — known as a long-day plant — produces long stems and sets flowers and produces seeds, which are commonly used in preparing food. When dill is grown in the fall, however, it produces lots of fine feathery foliage rich in flavor. By sowing the seeds directly in the garden now, you will be guaranteed an abundant supply of fresh dill weed until the first black frost in November.

Frequent harvesting of the foliage when the plants are young simulates them to produce multiple stems. A plant with multiple stems is what you want to transplant for growing indoors during winter.

If you take a few minutes now and transplant some of those dill plants into pots for growing indoors, you can continue harvesting fresh dill weed well into midwinter.

Since the plant will be potted using soil, transplant it into a clay pot for better drainage. Avoid using a glazed or plastic pot, especially if the soil is a silt or clay loam.

If you’re growing indoors, delay bringing the plant inside until you start noticing repeated freezing night temperatures.

Locate the plant in a window facing south in a cool room where it will not likely be lighted during the night. To keep the plant vegetatively active, fertilize at three- to four-week intervals using a fish-emulsion fertilizer or a chemical fertilizer — liquid, not granular — such as 20-20-20, as recommended.

Kudzu Rampant

Q I read about the problem of vines taking over in the southern U.S.

Traveling along local roads in Maryland in the last two years, I’ve also noticed a tremendous increase in vine growth in our area. The vines sometime cover trees like a mantle, so thick that you can hardly tell the species of the tree. Last winter, after an ice storm, a lot of trees and branches were broken along Route 258 near Lothian and along Maryland Route 4. I suspect the damage was because of ice weighing down vines that covered the trees. This summer, as I traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard, I began noticing rampant vine growth draped over trees that I hadn’t noticed in past years.

What’s happening? It can’t be good.

Thank you for your many good columns.

–M.L. Faunce, Churchton

A The vine that you see growing over the trees is kudzu. I agree, kudzu should be brought under control, because it is very invasive and damaging to our forests. Kudzu was imported by the Soil Conservation Service to be used for erosion control in the 1950s. That was a big mistake.

It can be controlled only by spraying in early November with glyphosate, trade name Roundup. However, there appears to be no effort by the highway department to control this invasive weed.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

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