Dill, Parsley and Cilantro
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Debbie Boyd
Posted on: May 4, 1999

I have recently sowed dill, parsley and cilantro into their own 2 gallon planters. This is where they will spend their whole lives. Once they sprout and emerge, how far apart can they be? I would like several plants per container if possible. And also, how is dill used to pickle cucumbers?

For dill to produce an abundance of flowers and seed the plants would need to be spaced about 30 centimeters (1 foot) apart. For dill leaves to be used fresh in dips, soups and sauces a spacing of 15 centimeters (6 inches) would be adequate. I would suggest that you leave one strong plant in the middle and 3 or 4 around the circumference. If at all possible try not to transplant the seedlings, but instead eat the ones that are in the wrong spot, as soon as the unwanted seedling starts to interfere with its neighbours. For the ones around the circumference you can continue to harvest the leaves until the end- this way keeping them small, but don’t harvest the one in the middle should be left to flower and produce seed. When the seeds are mostly turning brown, cut off the whole inflorescence and put about a quarter seed head (depending on the size) into each jar of pickles together with the other spices (pepper corns, salt, vinegar and possibly a clove or two of garlic). Then boil the jars in a water bath, with the water coming up to the neck of the jars -with the lids on untightened) for 15 minutes, tighten lids and cool slowly.

Parsley will take its own sweet time to germinate! If it is too hot when you start it may wait until fall! Again, it does not like transplanting and does better if the extra plants are removed, rather than transplanting the ones you want to keep. Plants will grow best if spaced about 20 centimeters ( 8 inches) apart. Correct the spacing by harvesting the plants that are in the wrong spots -when they start to interfere with their neighbours.

Cilantro again does not transplant well, but since the plants never get very large they can be spaced 5 to 7 centimeters (2 to 3 inches) apart. After about 2 to 3 weeks the plants will try to bolt to seed and should be stated again with fresh seed.


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