How to grow turmeric in your garden

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Have you ever had a cup of turmeric tea? Add it to a delicious dish? If not, you are missing something. This spice has been used for centuries to soothe colds or add color to homemade dishes. Most of us buy turmeric from the supermarket, but growing it is easy!

The turmeric spice we know and love comes from the root of the plant. Sometimes you can find them in the produce aisle of your grocer. But if you want to grow fresh turmeric for your family, here’s how:


Get to know turmeric

Turmeric has been cultivated for at least 4,500 years in Asia, India and Africa. In recent years, the rest of the world has taken hold of this fantastic plant. It has become a popular “superfood” ingredient in all kinds of dishes and drinks.

The plant needs warm conditions for a long time to thrive, so it is not a plant for outdoors in northern climates. In USDA growing zones 8-12, you may be able to keep the plant outdoors year-round. Otherwise, you will need to grow it indoors, at least some of the time.

Turmeric is related to ginger and the tops of the plants look somewhat similar. Turmeric has wider lanceolate leaves than ginger, on a short stem. If allowed to flower, the plant will develop beautiful white or pink flowers.

Many people consume turmeric for its health benefits, so we need to discuss turmeric and curcumin. Each rhizome of the turmeric plant contains about 3-5% curcumin, and it’s curcumin that scientists believe contains all that healthy magic.

If you eat turmeric expecting the health benefits of curcumin, however, you will need to eat a lot of it. Alternatively, you can purchase curcumin and use that instead. Then simply savor the turmeric root for its delicious flavor.

Benefits of Curcumin

Curcumin has shown promise in studies to reduce inflammation in the body, which is responsible for all sorts of problems. For example, a study published in the journal Biotechnol Advances shows that it helps control heart disease.

Early studies indicate it may also help control cancer, while a study from the British Journal of Nutrition indicates that it is neuroprotective, helping to prevent things like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

A very small BMC study suggested that curcumin could help relieve arthritis, and researchers in the journal Front Psychiatry found that it could one day be used (along with other treatments) to lessen the impact of arthritis. the Depression.

A study published in Phytomedicine also suggested that the compound may help relieve chronic pain, such as that caused by neuropathy.

Best Turmeric Cultivars

Most of the time you will see the primary species of dark orange turmeric, known botanically as Turmeric longa. But there are many fantastic cultivars out there.

‘Hawaiian Red’ is one of the most popular types in Hawaii, where this plant is often grown. It has a bold orange-red flesh.

‘Indira Yellow’ has a bolder taste than the parent species and bright yellow flesh.

‘White Mango’ tastes like a green mango with pale yellowish green flesh.

‘Lakadong’ is appreciated for its high curcumin content and ‘Alleppey’ has a stronger flavor as well as a high curcumin content. It is one of the most sought after cultivars in the United States.

‘Madras’ is the cultivar of choice in India and the UK for its bright yellow colour.

Also look for ‘Rajapore’, ‘Sangli’, ‘Erode’ and ‘Nizamabad’ which are popular in India but less common in North America.

Plant turmeric

To grow turmeric, you need to start with seed rhizomes. You can find them at local retailers or online. Look for untreated rhizomes intended for planting. Often the rhizomes at the grocery store are treated and will not sprout.

As this spice normally grows in India and warm parts of the world, you need to plant it in a sunny and warm place. Remember that this plant has a long growing season. Temperatures need to stay consistently within the correct growing range for a long time.

Turmeric needs 8 to 10 months of frost-free conditions and temperatures of 70°F and above to produce a harvest. If you don’t have such a long growing season, you’ll need to bring the plant indoors in cooler weather.

The best time to plant turmeric is in winter and harvest the following fall and early winter. You can start the plants indoors if you have a short growing season. Use heating mats to increase the temperature.

Place the rhizomes in loose, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter or potting mix that retains water.

When preparing the soil for turmeric, you need to make sure there are no large rocks or clumps. This is why raised beds are ideal for planting turmeric, as you can avoid rocks and provide the ideal conditions right from the start.

Each rhizome should be planted about four inches deep with about six inches between them. Crop spacing is essential because if there is not enough space between the seeds, the crops will grow on top of each other.&

As turmeric rhizomes are delicate, you need to gently place them in the ground by digging a small hole, putting the end in the ground and covering them. As long as the bumps are facing up, the sprouts will grow in the right direction.

container planting

Use a large container when planting turmeric. Since it is a root crop, it needs ample space to develop the large rhizomes you want.

Some people use empty wine barrels to grow turmeric. You can start multiple plants in a half barrel. Whatever you use, it should be at least five gallons and have a surface foot width. It must also have good drainage.

The best soil combination for turmeric is 70-80% organic potting soil and 20-30% well-rotted compost. This mixture creates a healthy environment for the growth of turmeric.

Indoors, place them in a sunny spot by the window or under grow lights. Before taking the plants outside, be sure to harden them off a bit.

Caring for your turmeric

Of course, you will need to take care of your turmeric crop once it has been planted. Fortunately, turmeric only requires basic maintenance such as watering and an occasional fertilizer. The soil should remain slightly moist but should never be soaked when growing.

It’s a good idea to poke your finger into the soil every few days to test the moisture level. If the floor feels like a well-wrung sponge, great! If it feels drier, add more water.

During the hottest months of the year such as summer and spring, you will need to water more than usual. When winter arrives, you can reduce your watering schedule because the temperatures won’t be as high and there will be less evaporation.

When you water, watch for pests and diseases that could affect your crop.

In addition to watering your turmeric crop, apply fertilizer regularly during the growth phase. Any vegetable-targeted fertilizer will do, such as Miracle-Gro’s & Shake ‘N Feed Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Fertilizer. Apply every eight weeks.

Pests and diseases of turmeric

If you’re having trouble growing turmeric, it’s probably rhizome maggot or rhizome rot. Both of these pests and diseases are common with turmeric crops and it is important to research if you want to grow this spice at home.

rhizome fly

This pest (Mimegralla coeruleifrons) is a small, black, winged insect that feeds on turmeric plants. Damage to your crop is easy to spot because it leaves holes in the shoots. Often this pest attacks diseased plants.

There are a few precautions you can take to keep your turmeric free from rhizome flies. Here is a list of the best methods to eliminate this pest:

  • Buy rhizomes from high quality sellers. Poor quality rhizomes are more susceptible.
  • Remove the infected parts of the plant.
  • Use an organic pesticide that contains pyrethrin.

Rotting rhizomes

If you notice your plant suddenly wilting or the leaves turning brown, you could have rhizome rot. As the crop matures, there is less chance of this disease appearing on your crop. This is why you need to be extra careful at the start of the turmeric growing process.

It’s caused by fungi Grass pythium and P. aphanidermatum.

You can avoid rhizome rot by watering carefully, which includes making sure you don’t overwater and checking the crop for signs of wilting or soggy stems. If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to act quickly.

Bonide’s Infuse is perfect for treating this condition. Follow the instructions as soon as you notice any problems. You can also treat the rhizomes before planting to avoid this problem in the first place.

How to harvest and use turmeric

After months of caring for your turmeric, you’ll be thrilled when the day finally arrives when you can reap all your hard work. Isn’t that the best part of gardening?

The first sign that your turmeric is ready to pick is when the majority of the leaves turn yellow or brown. As soon as it starts to look like this, you can pull them out of the ground. Turmeric is easy to harvest with a trowel or rake and a light pull.

It’s important to be careful when harvesting turmeric because you don’t want to break the stem when you pull it out of the ground. When you have the rhizomes, you can wash them with water and remove the extra dirt.

Many people think turmeric is only good as a food coloring or health supplement, but it’s so much more versatile than that. Sure, you can sprinkle it over roasted vegetables, add it to soup, or even bake it into a cake, but like ginger, feel free to get creative.

How about honey turmeric chicken? Or, of course, make a fantastic tea. Use it to make oatmeal or savory pork chops.

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