Two Tricks and Basic How-To Advice For Growing Caraway
Growing caraway isn't difficult in the home herb garden and you may
want to if you are a big baker or cheese maker.
This herb is used in flavoring cheeses and breads but isn't one of the
biggest selling home herb garden plants. (Mind you, if you like it, you
really like it.) :-)
Caraway is a Biennial
Note that this plant is a biennial. In practical terms, this means you
start the plants two years in a row from seed and after that, you'll
likely have all the plants you want as this one will self-sow.
In fact, it self sows so much it can become quite a nuisance plant. I'm
told in some areas it has escaped from gardens and is becoming a
noxious weed. But you won't get seeds until the second year so starting
them two years in a row will give you an ongoing crop.
Sow this plant directly into the garden as the seedlings with their
long taproot are notoriously difficult to transplant.
Sow in the full sun when the ground warms up along with the rest of the
vegetable garden. The end of May to mid-June is fine. The seed should
be barely covered and kept moist until it germinates.
Sow at several seeds to the inch and thin the seedlings to the
strongest leaving a strong plant every 12 inches.
Caraway likes a sandy soil with good drainage so clays or wet soils are
not going to grow a good plant (and they'll likely die over the
Note the plants resemble Queen Anne's Lace with feathery, delicate
foliage and you may think you have a weed.
The trick, at least in the first year,
is that the
caraway will seldom grow taller than 12 inches while Queen Anne's lace
will shoot up under the fertility in a vegetable patch.
A second trick
to growing caraway is to sow the
seeds in September. While a spring sowing will not give you seeds until
the plants mature the second year, sometimes a fall sowing will give
you seeds the following summer.
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Harvest the seeds when they are dry.
You might see aphids and sometimes caterpillars will take a chunk here
and there of this plant but it is pretty straightforward and easy to
grow. Just watch out for volunteer seedlings as growing caraway can
become a bit weedy.
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