Caraway, which are known botanically as Carum carvi, are a type of herb that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing caraway as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.
Best Time to Plant Caraway
This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the caraway seeds directly outdoors in early spring or late fall. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.
To check when caraway are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.
How to Plant Caraway the Right Way
There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing caraway in your home garden.
Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your caraway grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 7.0.
plant rhizome pieces 2-4″ deep and 8-12″ apart. 1/4″ deep, 2″ apart in rows 12″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 6-12″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.
Begin thinning your caraway seedlings 6-8″ apart when seedlings are 1-2″ tall.
How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Caraway
The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your caraway. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.
Ideally, your caraway should be getting full sun
How Much to Water Caraway
As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your caraway do, and the amount of water is no different.
Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your caraway begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.
Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.
How Long Does it Take Caraway to Germinate and Grow?
Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your caraway grow.
It takes approximately 14-21 days to germinate, and a total of 70-90 days (seeds) from seed to harvest.
When to Harvest Caraway
The best time to harvest your caraway is when seeds have ripened, usually in late summer or early fall.
Caraway can grow up to about 18-30″ tall.
What Can Caraway Be Used For?
Food Use: great for flavoring bread, soups, and pickling.
Flavor Profile: warm, sweet, and slightly bitter.
Can Caraway Grow in Pots and Containers?
Yes, you can plant multiple plants in a 12″ container. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.
It also gives you the flexibility to move your caraway around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.
Are Caraway Safe for Bees?
Yes, caraway are safe for bees.
According to GreenPeace.org, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.
Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing caraway is bee-friendly.