“Growing turmeric is as easy as growing any other veggie in your backyard. A good single harvest is enough turmeric for your yearly need,” says Ellie Berg, a US-based urban grower who has been growing turmeric at home, in a pot, and in her kitchen green for the last four years. Both of which, she says, have proven to be “potentially good.” The urban grower states you need a one-by-one foot diameter pot, soil, dry leaves, and kitchen waste to reap over a kg of turmeric.
For thousands of years, we have used this little golden spice, even more so today, with its scientifically verified medicinal effects discovered recently. Belonging to the ginger family, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, discourages Alzheimer’s and cancer, cures cough, and boosts immunity.
However, turmeric found in the markets could be adulterated.
So, here’s how growing turmeric at your home is easier by using soil, dry leaves, and kitchen waste.
Growing Turmeric Plant
Being a real spice in the kitchen or grandmother’s antidote to controlling bleeding or healing wounds, having a wedding tradition committed to it, and even being a formal rehab drink, preferred as ‘turmeric milk‘ in the West.
Luckily turmeric plant is easy to grow if you live in a sunny spot for a large pot or planter. Give it what it wants; it will rise like a weed and reward you with good tropical herbage and a gracious harvest of fresh turmeric.
1. Preparation Stage
In most regions of the U.S., turmeric will grow pleasingly if you plant it at home in the late winter. Counting on your indoor and outdoor area, you can either place it inside as a houseplant all summer or drag it outside once all chance of frost is past. The climate is toasty enough to put out your pepper and eggplant shrubs. And if you are an inhabitant of Zones 8-11, you can plant it fully outdoors.
Estimate when to plant.
Turmeric takes 7 to 10 months from planting to harvest. To know when you should plant, estimate back ten months from when you generally get your first frost in the fall season. If your first frost is almost mid-October, so you’d begin your turmeric between mid-December and mid-March. Suppose your growing season is extended, or you have a large, sunny indoor space to plant it. Your timing could be more manageable in that case, but you can always get the best results from growing in late winter via spring.
SEED YOUR RHIZOMES
Turmeric is produced from rhizomes, pulpy root-like structures. Choose chubby rhizomes with as many nodes (buds) along the sides as doable. Jung Seed trades small potted plants if you can’t find any locally. You can also buy fresh turmeric rhizomes from several sellers on Amazon. (Prefer a seller in the U.S. to dodge customs issues).
2. PLANTING STAGE
You will require a 14-18-inch pot or planter with 6 to 8 inches of rhizome and enough potting soil to load it. But it’s more helpful to sprout the rhizomes in small containers and implant them into bigger containers once they’ve got a few leaves and grow well. Here’s how:
1. Cut the rhizomes into groups (with two or three buds in each group).
2. Refill 3-inch pots mid with fine potting soil.
3. Spread the rhizome groups lying on the soil, and cover them with more potting soil.
4. Water them nicely and drop the pots into transparent plastic bags.
5. Set the pots or clamshells in the warmest dwelling you can find (86-95 degrees is perfect). Sprouting at lower temperatures will be slow, and your rhizomes may even decay rather than outgrowth (sprouts). No hot spot? You can make an excellent germination compartment with a heating tool, small desk light, picnic cooler, or thermometer. Or you purchase a small germination chamber for home use; light or no light is okay at this phase.
3. SUPERVISING STAGE FOR GROWING TURMERIC
Have a check on your pots every few days, and once the sprouts begin to appear, drag the pots to a window rack or under a mature light. Unless your home is hot (the optimal rising temperature at this phase is 77-86 degrees), you want to position them on a heat mat set to the low 80s. As the plants outgrow their plastic coverings, release them.
Water as required.
Once you unlock the mini-greenhouses, you must moisten your turmeric as needed, dampen the soil but not watery, and mist the leaves once or twice a day with water to maintain the humidity. Allowing the soil to dry out anytime will lower your last harvest.
Implant to larger pots now.
When your plants are 6-8 inches in height, carefully implant them into bigger pots (either the final ones or medium size), the whole of potting soil. Start shifting the heat mat down several degrees each week until you switch to 70 degrees. At this moment, you can dismiss the heat mat as long as your indoor temperature standards are about 68 degrees.
Otherwise, resume operating the heat mat. Plants in medium-sized pots are ready to go in their final pots or planters when they mature top-heavy or start sending up more outgrowths (shoots).
Shift plants outside.
Move your turmeric outdoors once all possibility of frost is past when the forecast indicates only warm nights onwards. Supply partial shadow for the first few days to prevent tender leaves from sunburning. Persist to water as required during the summer and fall to maintain the soil moist but not waterlogged. Provide your growing plants by watering them every couple of weeks with compost tea or spreading a fertilizer advised for potatoes or root crops.
4. HARVESTING STAGE (GROWING TURMERIC)
Your turmeric is prepared to harvest when the leaves and stem shift brown and dry, about 7-10 months after sowing. Cut the stems an inch or above the mass of rhizomes and bathe the rhizomes well. Offload the plants, soil, and all, and jerk the ground off your fresh turmeric.
5. STORING STAGE
Rhizomes will remain fresh in the fridge for up to 6 months in an airtight bag or container; project them in the freezer to save them for a long time. Be sure to place a few of the largest aside for replanting!
You can also produce your own turmeric powder. Place the freshly washed rhizomes in a pot, surround them with water, bring them to a boil, and parboil until you can readily puncture them with a spoon or (depending on the size, it may take 45-60 minutes).
Pulverize dried rhizomes in a spice blender or mortar and pestle to make turmeric powdery for your curries. Shower the boiled rhizomes, scratch the skin with your fingers (optional), and dry them in sunlight or use a food dehydrator set at 140 degrees until they are dried.
Pro tip: You may prefer gloves when handling turmeric rhizomes as they will stain your fingers a bright orange that you won’t rinse off at the moment.
Enjoy your tasty and healthful harvest!