How to Grow Cumin
How to Grow Cumin
Let’s talk about how to grow cumin. In America, cumin is not grown in many home gardens, possibly because of two factors:
(1) A belief that it cannot be grown outside tropical areas.
(2) There is much uncertainty for many people about how to use cumin in the kitchen.
However, cumin should be a wonderful addition to your gardens, because not only is it a healthy addition to your diet , but because it is easy to grow! Here’s where you can buy cumin seeds to plant in your garden.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a member of the parsley family. It is a herbaceous annual plant which grows to a height of around 1 foot tall. The weed-like branches and leaves of the plant are very thin and feathery and the flowers are a small, pretty pink or white color. The flowers are short-lived and then they become the clusters of the cumin seed that are harvested as the spice.
This is a continuation of my Spice Series. Check out Spice Series page to find links for info on MORE spices you can grow at home. Here’s my post on How to Use Cumin in the Kitchen.
Enough background info, let’s get down to the details about how to grow cumin…
Propagation of Cumin:
**Sow your cumin seeds indoors about 8 weeks before your final frost date. After frost danger has passed, plant your cumin seedlings 4 inches apart in your chosen garden area. You want to plant the seedlings close together, so that they will support each other during harvest time.
**Cumin requires a pretty long growing season, as it takes about 4 months to mature, so if you live in an area with a short growing season, you will want to start them indoors. Transplant your cumin plants outdoors when temperature LOWS reach 60 degrees.
**Cumin can either be grown indoor as well as outdoor from seeds and seedlings. Buying seedlings from nursery is more expensive (and difficult to find!) than growing cumin from seeds.
Position of Cumin Plants:
**Plant your cumin plants in full sun, wherever you want: containers, garden, or raised beds, etc.
**These plants thrive in well-draining soil in a sheltered sunny spot.
Maintenance of Cumin Plants:
**Water your cumin plants well in dry weather and about four months later, you will be ready to harvest. Cumin plants likes damp soil (but still do not overwater!) and the only real problem is that the plant is intolerant of long periods of dry heat. In those climates, misting will help.
**Other than watering, there is very little maintenance to do for these easy going plants.
Harvesting Your Cumin:
**Enjoy the beauty of the cumin flowers, and then watch closely as the flowers turn into the seed pods.
**Cumin seeds often ripen unevenly, so you need to keep a close eye on your crop and harvest your cumin plants individually.
**Cumin seed pods are ready to harvest when they easily crack open in your hands and when the clusters turn brown.
**When some of the plants are ready, cut down 5-6 cumin plants at the stem and place the pod clusters in a paper bag. Tie it and hang the bag upside down in a warm, dry place. After 7-10 days, the pods will have dried. Rub the pods between your fingers and the seeds will drop out for immediate use or for storage.
**You can also thresh the bag when it is ready to harvest: beat the bag against a hard surface to dislodge the seeds. Sift the seeds through a mesh cloth to remove the chaff.
**IMPORTANT: make sure the cumin seeds are absolutely dried before putting them away for storage to prevent rot/mold.
**The seeds (brown cumin) start out yellowish in color and when they dry, they become more green-brown.
**Cumin seeds can be used as is, but dry roasting brings out more aroma. You should roast them if you plan on grinding them.
After learning about this easy-t0-grow plant, will you grow Cumin?
**I would LOVE to hear from you! Are you going to grow your own cumin? Have you grown your own cumin before? Did my information on ‘How to Grow Cumin Seeds’ inspire you? Tell me about your thoughts on cumin in the comments below.
**Here is where you can buy cumin seeds for planting. Click here to read more about where to find high-quality seed companies for organic gardening.
**Read more about How to Plan Your Garden.
**Don’t forget to learn more about how to grow spices and how to use spices in the kitchen by checking out my Spice Series! And make sure to check out my post on How to Use Cumin in the Kitchen!
Love your post on cumin! I’m going to read all your posts on spices, just what I need!
I have cumin seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but I was too scared to try them last year, since I don’t live in a tropical area, so I’m going to do it this upcoming year now that I’ve read your post.
I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, zone 6b, so I might *just barely* have enough time for the cumin to go to seed in temps above 60 in my area, but I think to be safe I will try some in the greenhouse only and plant some out in the garden and see what they do.
I’m looking to grow my supply of cumin for the year, which is probably ALOT of cumin since I use it in everything! How many plants do you suggest growing to produce, say… 6 – 12oz of ground cumin (2 – 4 typical spice bottles full)? Thanks for your post!
Yay! I hope you have a great cumin harvest. 🙂 Maybe try growing 4-6 plants and see how they do. Depending on how long you get until frost as well as how healthy your soil is, you can get different variables in your harvest rates. I go throughh a lot of cumin, too! 🙂
A lot of the recipe I use cumin in calls for it to be ground….so y question is how do you grind your seeds?
I bought a coffee bean grinder that I use only to grind my spices. It’s best to store herbs and spices in their whole-form and just grind them when necessary. It keeps them tasting fresher. That’s what I do with my cumin seeds (and other spices).
Iplanet cumin last year 2019 I pulled him up last year at the end of the season but I didn’t know what to do with all the seeds I laid them in one area and this year cumin grew everywhere and this you’ll have a lot more killman I did not know how about the seeds I didn’t know what to do thanks to this article now I know exactly what to do with them me and my brother tasted the leaves we wanted nothing to do with it LOL.
Another way that I do it is to use my “Bullet” smoothie maker,with the little cup. No sense buying yet another appliance to have sitting around.
Food processor will work but it’s kind of big.
Thank you so much for the thorough info. We have been making our taco seasoning from scratch for the past year and were wanting to expand our cumin use. I have never grown cumin before and every herb is different. In central florida we have been getting much less rain the past couple of summers. Definitely needed to know about the misting and that they ripen unevenly. I will be back this winter to let you know if I had a successful initial crop! Excited to explore your site -this is my first visit.
Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it! 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic cumin harvest! Let me know how it goes.
Thanks for this information. I planted some cumin seeds this year, first time. I look forward to using homegrown spices and grinding as I need them. Grinding the spices as I am going to use them is what I decided to do because when I have done that with store bought spices the flavor was more intense.
I live in zone 4b which is NOT good for growing cumin, but I use it a lot,.
1) Does it need light to germinate?
2) can I grow it in pots, and bring it indoors when temps start dropping?
You need light to germinate, and you can certainly try to grow it in pots and bring it indoors! I love trying new things in the garden. 🙂 Good luck!
What a novel post. I have never tried growing cumin. This is the first season I am going to, Thanks to you Chris for the inspiration . I am in DFW, Texas. Best wishes.
I ordered Cumin seeds for the first time as I use this spice a lot. I wasn’t sure how to grow it, but wanted to give it a try. I just read my email that the seeds have been sent. The very next email I read had your post in it. Thank you so much for posting it. It answered all the questions I had. Being in zone 5 I will start the seeds in my greenhouse, and keep a close eye on the watering. Thanks to you Cris I am looking forward to having my own fresh cumin.
Yay! I’m so glad my post is helpful! Have fun with growing it! I am totally addicted to growing my own kitchen spices/herbs. 🙂