Caraway Issues In The Garden – Dealing With Disease And Pests Of Caraway

Caraway Issues In The Garden – Dealing With Disease And Pests Of Caraway

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By: Amy Grant

Caraway (Carum carvi) is a biennial plant cultivated for its anise-like flavored seeds. Closely related to both carrots and parsley, problems with pests and diseases of caraway tend to be of the same ilk.

Caraway Plant Problems

Caraway takes two growing seasons to produce seed, although there are a few varieties that when planted in the fall will produce seed the following summer. Caraway is easy to grow and is hardy to USDA zone 3.

In the first year, caraway plant leaves may be harvested and the roots eaten much like parsnip. The plant will grow to around 8 inches (20 cm.) in height with a long taproot and will overwinter to produce blooms in May to August on 1- to 2-foot (30-61 cm.) stalks. One month after flowering, the seeds darken and can be harvested to flavor desserts, breads, and casseroles.

While problems with caraway are few, those they do have tend to be from pests of caraway or disease.

Diseases and Pests of Caraway

Caraway is rarely bothered by pests but on occasion the carrot root fly, also known as the carrot rust fly, may attack the plant. Also, since caraway is a member of the parsley family, parsley worms may also be found munching on the plant. These parsley caterpillars are easily removed by hand picking.

Grasshoppers are also an occasional pest as are leafhoppers. Leafhoppers are a more serious problem, however, as they may act as vectors to transmitting aster yellows disease.

There are no pesticides for insect control but caraway is rarely affected by insects. Caraway plants do attract beneficial parasitic wasps, which can help to control aphid populations in the garden.

Caraway is most susceptible to foliar diseases, but again, this is a rare occurrence. To control disease, be sure to water the plants at the base and avoid wetting the leaves for any length of time. This can be done by watering early in the day or by using drip irrigation.

Additional Caraway Plant Problems

Again, caraway is an easy-to-grow plant with few issues. Weeds should be managed during the plants’ infancy. As the plants grow, they will crowd out any weeds. In fact, caraway itself can become more of a problem weed if left to reseed, but when the plants are young, care should be taken to gently remove weeds.

Thin out unwanted caraway plants and mulch heavily to reduce unwanted seed germination and pinch off unwanted seed heads. This will not only prevent a plethora of unwanted plants but also may allow the plants to grow an extra season.

In general, to reduce the incidence of pests and diseases, rotate the caraway crop to different parts of the field or garden and destroy plant detritus after harvesting.

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Health Benefits of Caraway Seeds

Herbs and spices can add flavor to your meals.

But did you know they’re also filled with nutritional components that may help to boost your health?

The seeds are commonly found in America in rye bread, caraway seed rolls, and more. It is also common in European cooking and baking. And this flavorful addition brings some potential health benefits along with it.

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Ready to learn more? Here’s what we’ll cover:

All in Good Time

C. carvi is a pretty plant, with feathery leaves and umbrella-like flowerheads made up of many tiny white or pink blossoms. It infuses a garden with a pleasant aroma and attracts beneficial insects.

In temperate zones, where caraway grows as a biennial, it matures in its second summer. In warmer climes, it grows as an annual, and matures in late spring.

The tender young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads and the roots can be consumed as you would potatoes or carrots at the end of the plant’s life cycle.

But the seed is a bit finicky when it comes to harvesting. It’s all about timing.


The etymology of caraway is complex and poorly understood. Caraway has been called by many names in different regions, with names deriving from the Latin cuminum (cumin), the Greek karon (again, cumin), which was adapted into Latin as carum (now meaning caraway), and the Sanskrit karavi, sometimes translated as "caraway", but other times understood to mean "fennel". [7]

English use of the term caraway dates back to at least 1440, [8] and is considered by Walter William Skeat to be of Arabic origin, though Gernot Katzer believes the Arabic al-karawya كراوية (cf. Spanish alcaravea) to be derived from the Latin carum. [7]

Caraway was mentioned by the Greek Dioscorides as a herb and tonic. It was later mentioned in the Roman Apicius as an ingredient in recipes. [9] Later, caraway was known in the Arab world as karauya, and cultivated in Morocco. [9]

The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone, limonene, [10] and anethole. [11] Caraway is used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. [12]

Caraway is also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, and other foods. Its leaves can be added to salads, stews, and soups, and are sometimes consumed as herbs, either raw, dried, or cooked, similar to parsley. [3] The root is consumed as a winter root vegetable in some places, similar to parsnips. [3] [12]

Caraway fruits are found in diverse European cuisines and dishes, for example sauerkraut, and caraway seed cake. In Austrian cuisine it is used to season beef and, in German cuisine, pork. In Hungarian cuisine it is added to goulash, and in Norwegian cuisine and Swedish cuisine it is used for making caraway black bread. [12]

In Hungary and Serbia, caraway is commonly sprinkled over home-made salty scones (köményes pogácsa / pogačice s kimom). It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as bondost, pultost, havarti, and Tilsit.

Caraway oil is used to for the production of Kümmel liquor in Germany and Russia, Scandinavian akvavit, Icelandic brennivín. [12]

In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding, called meghli, is a popular dessert during Ramadan. It is typically made and served in the Levant area in winter and on the occasion of having a new baby. Caraway is also added to flavor harissa, a North African chili pepper paste. In Aleppian Syrian cuisine it is used to make the sweet scones named keleacha.

Caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Caraway is also used as a breath freshener, and it has a long tradition of use in folk medicine.

In the United States, the most common use of caraway is whole as an addition to rye bread – often called seeded rye or Jewish rye bread. Caraway fruits are frequently used in Irish soda bread, along with raisins and currants.

Caraway is distributed throughout practically all of Europe except the Mediterranean region it is widely established as a cultivated plant. All other European species of Carum generally have smaller fruits some grow on rocks in the mountains, chiefly in the Balkans, Italian Alps and Apennines. However the only one that is cultivated is Carum carvi, its fruits being used in many ways in cooking and its essential oils in the preparation of certain medicines and liqueurs. [13]

The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. In warmer regions, it is planted in the winter as an annual. In temperate climates, it is planted as a summer annual or biennial. However, a polyploid variant (with four haploid sets=4n) of this plant was found to be perennial.

Finland supplies about 28% (2011) of the world's caraway production from some 1500 farms, the high output occurring possibly from its favorable climate and latitudes, which ensure long summer hours of sunlight. [14]

Onions Rotting in Store

Grey mould growing on onions in store and general softening and rotting is usually caused by the onions being insufficiently dried out prior to storing or damp storage conditions. Check onions in store regularly and discard rotting onions before the problem spreads to the rest. Follow the instructions in harvesting and storing onions closely to minimise problems.


Pigeons are a particular pest of onions sets and shallots. Just as they start to shoot, the pigeon swoops down and pulls one from the ground. Finding it not to his taste, he flings it aside and tries the next in the row although the result is the same.

I once thought I was the victim of another plotholder’s annoyance until I saw a pigeon doing as I describe. The only real answer is to use horticultural fleece or net the crop until it’s established well.

Watch the video: How To Get Rid Of Thrips Pests In Your Garden