As a biennial herb, caraway is planted one year so that the seeds are ready to harvest the second year. Choosing the proper garden bed is vital to ensure the plant thrives for the two necessary years to reach harvest. While caraway seeds are most common in kitchens, the entire plant is edible. The roots are used similarly to carrots, while the young leaves are used raw in salads or cooked in soups. Start seeds directly in the garden in spring, as caraway does not transplant well.
Prepare a garden bed that receives full sunlight and is well-drained. Lay a 2-inch layer of compost over the bed and till it into the top 8 inches of soil. This improves drainage and adds organic matter to the soil.
Spread seed thinly in rows on the soil surface, leaving 1 foot between rows. Cover the seeds with ½ inch of fine soil. Seeds germinate in 14 to 21 days on average.
Water the bed enough to evenly moisten it. Continue to water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Thin the caraway seedlings so they are 8 inches apart in the rows once they sprout. Pinch off the extra seedlings, leaving the others in place.
Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants once they are 5 inches tall. Mulching preserves soil moisture and prevents weeds, which is vital for a successful caraway crop.
Harvest caraway seeds in the second year after they flower. Cut the plants off at the base once the seeds darken in color and hang them upside down over a bowl for two weeks to finish drying. Shake the dried bunches into the basket, dislodging the seeds.