Cumin is a plant that has been used for thousands of years. It was one of the three spices, with mint and coriander, sold by street vendors in ancient Rome.
Cumin seeds are used to flavor many dishes around the world including Mexican cuisine, Indian dishes, Middle Eastern hummus and Moroccan harira soup.
The cumin plant can grow up to 3 feet tall with dark green leaves and pink or white flowers on top of it’s stem.
There are two ways you can grow cumin: from seeds or from cuttings. To grow cumin plants from seeds, you must sow them directly in your garden plot about one foot apart with their heads facing south-southeast so they get plenty of sun exposure. For growing cumin plants from cuttings, take 8-inch pieces of stem that have at least three nodes on them and place them in a pot filled with moist soil or sand for approximately 2 months before planting outside.
Can you grow cumin from seeds bought at the store?
Yes you can. Once the seeds have been harvested, they are dried and then stored to be sold at stores.
If you’re thinking about growing cumin from seeds that came from a store, it is best to plant them as soon as possible as you will not know how fresh the seeds are and how long they have been packaged.
Seeds purchased from grocery stores are often not the best choice for planting ( although there is no harm trying ).
If you want reliable results then getting seed that is intended for growing will help prevent any disappointment.
Cumin seeds are often available at garden centers but if you cannot locate any then there are several options on Amazon.
I particularly like the offer from the East India Ethnic Herb Bin that will send you more than 1000 easy to grow seeds.
How to grow your cumin plants?
Cumin is native to hot climates and will not survive frost or cold weather.
It is best to grow your cumin in pots so that you can move the plants if the weather turns bad – it is also a great plant to grow indoors.
You will need to get some biodegradable pots for your seeds to germinate in as cumin does not transplant easily.
Fill the pots with good quality seed compost and water well.
The seeds are fine and should be sown 1/4 inch deep into the pots, covering them with a thin layer of compost. Each plant will only produce a small amount of seeds, so make sure that you sow enough for future needs.
Keep the pots somewhere warm ( minimum 60 degrees fahrenheit) and make sure that they don’t dry out.
It will take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks for the seeds to show signs of germination – so be patient.
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Growing your cumin into adult plants
If you live in a warm area then you may wish to plant your young plants outdoors in the garden.
Your young plants will need to adjust to the outdoor conditions before planting out and you should ‘harden them off’ by taking them outdoors during the day then bringing them back inside in the evening.
After a few days your can leave the pots out overnight and when 10 to 12 days have passed they’ll be ready for planting out.
Ideally you will have used biodegradable pots. Simply tear down one side of the pot and plant the pot and cumin plant into the ground.
Growing cumin plants in pots
Cumin grows well in a large pot of 10 to 12 inches in diameter.
Fill the pot with good quality compost and plant your cumin plant, with it’s biodegradable pot in the compost.
Keep it well watered and place in a light and warm position.
Pots can be taken outdoors when it is warm and returned indoors if it becomes cold.
- Planting Depth: 1/4″
- Seed Spacing: 4-6″
- Temperature: 50-70°F
- Days to Germination: 8-12
- Days to Maturity: 70
Growing cumin plants – basics
- Starting seeds indoors in colder climates is recommended for warm-season plants.
- Plant outside when night time temperatures are above 60°F or where daytime highs stay above 65°F, and they have access to full sun.
- They grow best in a sandy loam soil that is well-draining soil
- Try to plant in clumps so the plants can support each other.
- Monitor plant moisture (but don’t overwater)
How long does cumin take to grow?
Your cumin plants will take around 120 to 140 days to produce flowers and seed heads.
When can you harvest cumin seeds?
The plant flowers will produce seeds that turn from green to brown as they mature and the seeds are ready when the pods begin to dry.
Cut the stems holding the seed pods and place in bunches, upside down, in paper bags.
Hang the bags up and let the seed and stems dry out.
After about a week you should be able to rub the seed pods between your hands to extract the seeds.
Store the harvested seeds in a cool, dark place or in jars ready for use in the kitchen.
Growing cumin is very easy if you have the right conditions.
It does best in hot, dry climates with full sun exposure and a lot of space to grow but if you live elsewhere then why not try growing it in a container?
You’ll soon have your very own, fresh cumin seeds for your kitchen.