After comparing it with the other two types of oregano plants, we are going to see how to grow carom seeds or True Ajwain plants. Not the Ajwain leaf. Carom seeds are native to Egypt and are cultivated in Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan, Carom seeds, cumin seeds, and other plants from the Apiaceae family are collectively known as bishop’s weed.
Origin and Medicinal Uses of Carom Seeds
Carom seeds have been part of traditional Persian and Indian medicines since ancient times. It is a spicy herb and used commonly in various cough and cold remedies. It is also a carminative and eases stomach problems like indigestion, gastric ulcers, and gas trouble. In India, new mothers are given roasted carom seeds along with the dry coconut to chew. It is believed that carom seeds increase milk supply and fasten healing after childbirth. There is a special rice porridge that my mother used to make using carom seeds, fenugreek seeds, rice, milk, jaggery, and crushed black pepper when my babies were born. Topped with a spoonful of ghee, this porridge is the best comfort food after delivery. The essential oils in carom seeds, mainly thymol which is the main component, are considered useful in fighting various bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral infections naturally. Other than thymol which is the main essential oil that is more than 50% there are several other volatile oils that also contribute to its strong flavor. Thymol is also produced synthetically by chemical companies for using it as a pesticide.
Carom seeds are known to reduce platelet aggregation that means like aspirin medicine it may prevent blood platelets from sticking together. One of the claimed effects of carom seeds is that they can cause foeticide. Hence it is better to avoid it during pregnancy. It is also used as a traditional remedy to prevent pregnancy. There are several other claimed benefits and effects but again as I always say, the research is very limited to know the accuracy of these claims.
I use ajwain a lot in various spices that I prepare. Also, I roast equal parts of Ajwain seeds, Alsi /flax seeds, and Fennel seeds as a mouth freshener after greasy meals. I like the taste of it. It also goes in fritters to prevent gas trouble and gives a different flavor to the fritters. So rather than dwelling a lot on the medicinal benefits, we can grow plants for making yummy dishes.
It is very easy to grow this medicinal herb in your home garden.
Growing Carom Seeds in Home Garden
Growing Temperature for Carom Seeds
Carom seeds are a cool season plant. The optimal growing temperature is 15-27dc or 60-80df. They are not drought tolerant. The seeds are germinated in October-November so that they get ready for harvest in May-June. The seed to harvest time for traditional varieties is 5-6 months but there are some early maturing varieties. And I believe the seeds that I sowed are early maturing ones because I started the seeds in February and the seeds are ready for harvest in May. Ajwain likes cold and dry climate and that is the reason it is grown in winter. If the winter is very harsh in your region then you can start the plants in early spring as soon as the frost ends and also again in late summer- early fall so you can get two harvests.
Carom Seeds Seed Germination and Sowing
So in just 4 months, I can start harvesting them. I used the seeds from the grocery store. I started the seeds indoors under a grow light. As I covered the seeds germination pot with a plastic bag, I sowed them somewhat superficially about ¼ inch deep to avoid too much moisture damaging the seeds. For direct sowing the seeds in the ground they are sown ½ inch deep.
Germination was very fast . just. Just in 3-5 days the seeds started sprouting.But seeds may take up to 10-12 days to germinate. They grow very fast. Soon I moved the young seedlings to the final pots. It was my first time growing these plants, so I grew them in a pot. They are about 12-18 inches in height and the plants were crowded. But if they were grown in ground and had enough space then they can reach upto 1meter in height. The recommended spacing between two plants is approximately 20-30 cms
Fertilizers for Carom Seeds
Any all purpose fertilizer can be used while making the soil mix. In the early period that is in the first 2-3 months, nitrogen rich fertilizer like fish fertilizer can be used so that the plant grows faster.
Carom Seeds Plant
Several stems grow upwards. The plant looks like fennel seeds, cumin seeds, or cilantro plants. The leaves are thready looking. The leaves, flowers and seeds have a very pungent aroma because of the essential oils in them. The flowers appear in clusters and are white in color. Carom seed plants are cross pollinated. The flowers are self-fertile but insects help with the cross-pollination and the seeds are formed under the flowers.
Pests on Carom Seeds
As I grew carom seeds in late winter, I faced hardly any pests. But now that spring is starting, I expect that the plants might get infested by pests. Some common pests that attack carom seed plants are aphids, root rot disease or powdery mildew. But so far the plants are doing really well even when the rain has continued for more than two weeks, I haven’t seen any pests.
Carom Seeds Harvest
For harvesting Ajwain / Carom seeds, just cut off the stems and let them dry completely before storing them. You can refer to this video of cumin seeds and enjoy the homegrown organic carom seeds. This is it for now. I hope you liked this video.
Medium- Carom Seeds | Bishop’s Weed