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Gardener's Notebook: Market offers fresh produce for summer

Fragrance of dill brings back memories

See what local gardeners have on offer at the Yorkton Gardener’s Market on Saturday, from 9AM till noon at the north parking lot of the Prairie Harvest Christian Life Centre, corner of Melrose and Simpson. Here’s a chance for local, home-grown produce, plus other items that include eggs, jams, relish, flowers, and honey. I’ve been told that there is also delicious baking there as well! If you have any questions about the market, or perhaps would like to be a vendor, just call Glen at (306) 783-7040.

We were out picking dill again the other day. You know how they say that fragrance is one of the best triggers of memory? Well, smelling the aroma of the dill took me back to Sweet Pea’s cozy kitchen, and memories of her making her delicious borscht. Mom would make big batches at a time, and everything came from her bountiful garden: the beets, potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, cabbage, and of course, the dill. I can still see her taking big bowls out to the garden, picking everything she needed, and then we’d slice and dice and prepare all those garden glories for the soup. How delicious the soup was, and having it for supper that day, with some of her amazing whole wheat buns, well, it just couldn’t get better than that! You know me: the aroma and the memories brought a tear or two to my eyes, but what happy memories they are to treasure!

So what’s the story with dill? I did some homework, and was surprised to learn that it is a member of the celery family. The two-dollar name for dill is Anethum graveolens. It is an herb that many cultures all over the world use in some of their most beloved recipes. It can be used fresh or dried, and it freezes well, a real treat to enjoy in midwinter.

As a garden plant, it grows about three feet high, on sturdy stems with the fine, fern-like leaves that we know so well. It likes full sun, and well-drained soil. Dill is one of those plants that really needs to be planted only once, because it seeds itself easily and will probably re-visit your garden again next year. And guess what, it can even be grown in containers! Just use a deeper container and be sure to water it well!

An added bonus is that the plant has lovely umbrella-shaped “flowers” that will turn into seeds as the plants matures; but till then, the bees and other pollinators love them!

And here’s a dilly factoid: dill has been around for thousands of years, and dill seeds were even found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep II. We can only guess: was it put there because he enjoyed foods with dill, or was dill seed considered a valuable commodity in Egypt? He probably couldn’t even imagine the delicious flavors of dill pickles or borscht! But it’s interesting to note how valued and important this herb was over the centuries, to everyone from kings to everyday gardeners. Visit the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society at and see our Virtual Flower Show starting August 5 at 1:00 PM and enjoy seeing our members’ flowers and plants!

It’s been a challenging year with the heat but there is always beauty in the garden! Be sure to check out the show!

Thank you to our friends at Yorkton This Week for their hard work, even in this heat! Have a great week, be careful of the heat, and be sure to wear a hat!