Caraway and cumin are enrichments for the kitchen and health, are often confused with one another and also thrive in the home garden – but they have different requirements. In order for the cultivation to be successful, certain special features must be observed.

location for cumin

Caraway is an extremely easy-care spice plant and this is already noticeable when choosing the location. All that is needed is a sunny or semi-shady place that is somewhat sheltered from the wind. A bed bordering a hedge or an area near a wall is ideal.

substrate and cultivation

As with the location, the caraway is anything but choosy when it comes to the choice of substrate. Normal garden soil that retains moisture well is perfectly adequate for it to thrive. Only soil that is too dry or too sandy does not tolerate it. Because the caraway needs a minimum of nutrients, the substrate should also be enriched with compost or manure. In preparation for cultivation, this addition should be made about two weeks before sowing. In this way, compost or manure can settle sufficiently and the nutrients are distributed more evenly.

The cultivation of caraway is best done by sowing directly into the bed. This is carried out either between March and mid-April or between July and August. The seeds are scattered in thin rows and covered with a layer of substrate about two centimeters thick. The bed should then be watered abundantly but gently. Planting aids or the like are not necessary. But a row spacing of about 20 to 30 centimeters. This will also make harvesting easier later.


The care of the caraway is very simple. In fact, it is limited to a dose of fertilizer and regular watering.

watering and fertilizing

Caraway needs regular watering because it does not tolerate drought very well. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that the soil does not dry out, especially on windy and hot days. It should be watered about once a week or whenever the top layer of the substrate has dried slightly. This also applies to frost-free days in winter, provided that melting ice and snow do not ensure natural irrigation.

Since the caraway can only be harvested in the second year, the plants must be fertilized in autumn. On the one hand, this measure provides the caraway with other nutrients that are necessary for growth and a rich harvest. On the other hand, the right fertilization also provides protection. For this purpose, plenty of compost is worked into the soil around the plants in autumn. You can also pile up some compost. This fertilization is best done before the first frost, so that it can be properly watered again.

protection in winter

Cumin usually withstands low temperatures in the local winters well. A little protection is still advisable for a bountiful yield.

The most important measure for this is fertilizing with compost in autumn. The right and wind-protected location is of course also a decisive factor. If there is frost and strong, cold winds, additional garden fleece can be stretched around the bed. Covering the plants is also possible, but should only be done when extreme temperatures occur due to the lack of light and the poorer supply of moisture.


In the second year, the caraway plants initially show small white or pink flowers, which indicate the development of the fruit. When the blossoms and fruits slowly turn brown, the first step in harvesting can begin. To do this, the fruit and flower-bearing stalks are cut off and bundled in smaller quantities. They are hung up to air dry.

If the bundles are properly dried, the caraway seeds are also ready for the final harvest and removal. This is done by rubbing the top sections of the bundles between your hands or rolling them over a cutting board with one hand and gentle pressure. The seeds will fall out.

Tip: Leave the stems as long as possible, this makes bundling and tying easier.


Once all plant remains have been removed, the caraway seeds can be filled into ordinary spice jars. For a long storage and shelf life, however, it is necessary that the seeds are really dry.

If they are not already, they should not be sealed airtight and stirred or shaken from time to time. This allows the last remnants of moisture to escape and there is no devastating mold growth.

Diseases and pests of caraway

Caraway plants are robust and not very susceptible to diseases and pests. During cultivation, however, it can still happen that an infestation spreads in the bed. Typical pests include:

  • The caterpillars of the caraway cockroach and caraway moth
  • Caraway gall mites
  • bugs

If only a few leaves or plant parts are infested and no chemical pesticides are used in the garden, the pests will be kept within limits. Natural predators take care of that. However, if there is too much feeding damage to the caraway plants, you should actively combat the pests. This can also be done with natural means, such as crop protection based on rapeseed oil.

On the disease side, caraway only occasionally shows rot and cone smut. Rot occurs when watering is too plentiful and too small, or when the bed is not adequately aerated. With conscientious care, it does not come up. The cone smut is a bacterial infection that manifests itself in a similar way to rot. However, it starts from the outer parts of the plant, i.e. from the flowers and leaves, and only gradually goes into the stems. The parts of the plant soften and discolour until they finally dry up. Appropriate commercially available remedies help against this disease, but they should be selected for their suitability for the caraway intended for consumption.

location for cumin

Cumin, also known as cumin, is a close relative of caraway. However, it not only differs greatly from him in terms of taste, but also in some of his claims.

It starts with the location. The annual cumin needs a place in full sun that is as warm as possible. This can be the south-facing balcony or a bed that is not overshadowed.


Commercial potting soil or fresh garden soil can be used as a substrate. Adding peat or coconut fibers is optimal, as these keep the soil loose and can still retain moisture.


Cumin needs quite high temperatures of 18°C ​​to 20°C to germinate and about four very sunny months to ripen. Direct sowing in the bed is therefore only possible to a limited extent, for example in the mild wine-growing climate. Pre-breeding indoors is better and more promising, ideally starting as early as February.

For this purpose, the seeds are spread thinly in seed pots and only lightly covered with substrate. It shouldn’t be more than a one centimeter thick layer. The seeds are watered while standing warm and bright. They should neither stand in dripping wet soil nor dry out.

The germination period is two to three weeks. From a height of about five centimeters, the plants can be pricked out. The smaller and weaker shoots are removed, only the stronger young plants remain. But if you have already sown the cumin thinly and sporadically, you can safely skip this step in cultivation. Because then all cumin plants have enough space and access to nutrients and water in order not to become a competitor.


Cumin is very sensitive to frost and should therefore only be planted in the bed after the ice saints. Since the plants spread by creeping, a distance of about 20 centimeters should be maintained. Narrow paths should be left between the rows to make later care and harvesting easier.

After application to the bed, watering is necessary again. Due to the rather low height, which is a maximum of only 40 centimeters for most varieties, cumin can also be cultivated on the balcony or in a bucket.


To care for the cumin, once it is in the container or bed, not much is necessary. Until harvest, she actually limits herself to occasional watering.

watering and fertilizing

Once sprouted and grown to a height of about ten centimeters, you can slowly reduce the watering. As an adult plant, cumin prefers moderately dry soil.

However, the cumin should not dry out completely. If it is in the required sunny location, a small watering once a week is usually sufficient. Rainwater or stagnant tap water is ideal. In areas with very soft tap water, however, this is also sufficient.

Cumin needs about four months in the sun before it is ready to be harvested.
Due to this relatively short ripening time, no further fertilization is necessary for the annual plant. Only the substrate should be slightly pre-fertilized, which is the case with commercially available flower, pot or fresh garden soil anyway.


In June the flowers of the cumin appear, which are small but make an appealing eye-catcher in white and pink. About forty days later, the fruits form and slowly ripen.

Harvest time can begin in late summer, when the cumin herb slowly turns brown. However, this is only the first step.

As with caraway, you have to cut off the infructescence as long as possible and bundle it. They are then hung up and air dried. It is also possible to spread out the individual infructescences on a grid or net and let them dry directly in the sun.

Once the parts of the plant have dried completely, the seeds are rubbed out.


When storing cumin, it is best to leave the seeds whole and store them in regular spice containers. The grains can then be freshly ground for a more aromatic experience or exotic blends.

Diseases and Pests of Cumin

Since cumin is not native to local areas, it is not attacked by diseases or pests.

Only rot can affect the plants if they are cultivated too wet and too cold. Only appropriate care and the right location can help against this.

Cumin and caraway are two aromatic spice plants that combine numerous health benefits and high enjoyment. Low-maintenance and easy to grow, they are also ideal for beginners in gardening. And a fragrant enrichment in the bed as well as in the tub.

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