Native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe and Africa, as well as western Asia, caraway is a plant with medicinal and culinary properties that has been routinely consumed since at least the Stone Age. The word ‘’caraway’’ refers to its Arab origin in the province of Caria, in today’s Turkey. The roots have been consumed as a vegetable for thousands of years, and the seeds have been added to breads and other backed goods since at least the Roman times.
In the same family as carrots, parsley and cumin, caraway is a biennial that will need two years to initiate seed development. Caraway will survive winters up to Canadian hardiness zones 5-8, and can be cultivated as an annual in colder climates. Caraway plants will grow from one to two feet tall, and the leaves can be harvested the first year and used in salads, soups or as a garnish. On the second year, long flowering stalks will produce white umbel flowers, turning into seeds that are ready to harvest when light brown. Caraway seeds are usually added to flavour breads, pastries, cakes, sauces and soups.
- Latin Name: Carum carvi
- Life Cycle: Biennal
- Canada Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Days to Maturity: Leaves 75 days / Seeds on the second year
- Planting Depth: 1 cm
- Plant Spacing: 20-30 cm
- Growth Habit: 30-60 cm tall
Caraway is an extremely versatile and useful all-around herb. Bunches of dainty white flowers give way to incredibly aromatic and flavorful seeds, while the edible root is comparable to parsnip.
Caraway will grow best when sown directly into the garden. Because of the main taproot it develops, seeds started indoors should be planted in compostable pots or transplanted as very young seedlings to avoid disturbing the root.
Sow seeds outdoors in the fall or early in the spring. To prepare garden beds, choose a site that receives full sun, till well and work in a good amount of compost. This will keep the soil light and improve fertility and water retention. Plant seeds, cover with 1 cm of soil and tamp down lightly. Water well and keep the soil moist at all times. The seeds are slow germinators but should sprout within two weeks. A light layer of mulch can be used to preserve moisture and help keep the seeds in place.
When sprouts appear, thin them to 15-20 cm apart. When plants become established, water less frequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Water in the morning and keep the foliage as dry as possible. Pull weeds as soon as they appear. They will steal water and nutrients from the young caraway plants. Caraway can be fed a few times throughout the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer. Side dressing with compost will provide nutrients and generally improve the quality of the soil.
Pick the edible leaves and flowers in the summer. During the fall, seed heads can be harvested and second year plants should be dug up. New plantings can also be seeded at this time. The bunches of tiny flowers bring in predatory insects that will help to destroy pests, making caraway an incredible companion plant in any garden.
- Popular in many cuisines from around the world, caraway is an ingredient that adds a distinctive flavour to rye breads.
- In some part of the world, caraway is given at the end of a meal much like an after-dinner mint.
- Caraway seeds will remain viable for one year if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!