It’s Fall: Plant more Dill and Avoid Caterpillars

Dill and Caterpillars: they arrive together every spring and the hungry hungry caterpillars eat all of this delicious herb for themselves. How rude!  However, now that it’s Fall, plant more Dill and you can avoid caterpillars.

Here’s a picture taken in July.  I think the flowers look like fireworks.  So pretty.

Flowering Dill

It’s specifically the Swallowtail Caterpillar which decimated my Dill (and Rue) in a matter of days.  I would handpick them off and relocate them to some bushes but it didn’t matter.  They would always show back up HUNGRY!  Who can blame them?  It’s their favorite and they have a lot to do before turning into butterflies. I am crazy about butterflies so I deal.

Here’s a picture of a caterpillar eating my Rue.

Rue and Swallowtail Caterpillar

I’ve read various ideas on getting rid of the caterpillars from spraying with garlic spray, dropping them in soapy water to squishing them.  Squish a caterpillar that is going to turn into a butterfly?  Never!!!

Click here to see a picture of this butterfly they grow into…simply gorgeous.  That’s great and all but I like Dill too.  What’s my solution?

Ways to have your Dill and Eat it too (while still respecting the future Mr. or Mrs. Butterfly):

  1. Plant more than one Dill plant in different locations.
  2. Remove Caterpillar by hand to another plant if they are destroying a single plant.
  3. Plant Dill in Fall (in addition to Spring) and there won’t be caterpillars! **Caterpillars usually arrive in May, June, and July

Yesterday, I planted  a Dill transplant and this morning I planted Dill seeds (in order to stagger the growth).   Unless there is a early freeze in October (which in North Texas there’s no telling) I should be enjoying this herb all Fall.

Young Dill

Here’s a picture of one of my perennial beds.  The past few days I’ve weeded,  added fresh soil and compost, pulled out annuals, gave all existing herbs a good trimming, and added fresh soil around my perennials.  As you can see,  I still have Basil for a few more weeks.  There’s also Chives, Lavender, Rue, Lemon Balm, Alpine Strawberries, Parsley (and of course Dill).  Next week I’m going to add Cilantro.

I’ve got a Pepper plant on the back row newly planted.  (Total failure this season of Peppers so going to try that again but this is an herb gardening blog so I won’t go into my vegetable woes!)

DSC_0549

So remember, use Fall as a time to plant more herbs outside (IF you live in a warmer climate) and you can avoid the caterpillars.

 

References:

1.) http://homeguides.sfgate.com/caterpillar-dill-plant-65083

2.http://butterflies.heuristron.net/butterflies/blackSwallowtail.html

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