How to grow turmeric rhizomes

Turmeric on the 2nd of JuneTurmeric on the 2nd of June

Turmeric rhizomes are relatively easy to grow. The yellow powder we use for cooking is ground from the dried root, therefore to grow fresh turmeric you will need to plant some fresh rhizomes and allow them to multiply, like other garden rhizomes, and then harvest the new ones at the end of the season when the foliage dies back.

The turmeric plant belongs to the Zingiberales, one of the monocot orders in botanical classificationThe different families in this order include cardamom, ginger (hence the name Zingiberales)cannas (Cannaeceae), bananas (Musa), Strelitizias and a plethora of what we know as tropical indoor plants with lovely foliage and strange flowers such as spiral ginger (Costus), Heliconi, Orchidantha and Meranta. There is a link below at the bottom of the page to pictures of the gorgeous and sometimes quite bizarre flowers of this plant family.

I find it hard to absorb all the hairsplitting discussions in taxonomy, but the cultural connections intersecting with food plant groupings and geographical location, such as the enormous diversity of Solanum foods in Meso America are quite fascinating to a plant lover. There seems to be quite diverse use of Zingiberales in tropical Asia, as well as more than one variety of our well known spices like cardamom. I’ve set about growing turmeric and ginger. So far the ginger has been less rewarding. The processes of sprouting rhizomes is slower than most authors online will divulge, especially if you have pot on a window sill in winter.

I bought some fresh turmeric rhizomes recently. They are not easy to find, but we have a great food culture in Cape Town and I bought them from Salt River market, which sells fresh Taro (or Amadumbes in South Africa), and many other wonderful ingredients one normally only finds in a processed form. On my next trip to Salt River I will look for ripe plantains, or cooking bananas, as they have seed, whereas the usual sweet bananas in our vegetable shops are seedless. 

Turmeric on 12th JuneTurmeric on 12th June
25th June25th June
28th June28th June

How to grow turmeric rhizomes

I planted the turmeric rhizomes in pots and adhering to online instructions didn’t overwater them. This was on the 21st of April and the first little points of leaf shoots emerged on the 2nd of June, approximately forty days later, rather longer than the two weeks suggested by my online research. They then took about 26 days to open up the first leaf. Four out of five roots produced shoots which is a pretty good result. However on emerging fully their palour shows me that something is wrong. More research suggests that it is nutritional deficit because turmeric is a heavy feeder. My fifty fifty sand manure mix just isn’t rich enough. I’ve started organic supplements, using urine for Nitrogen and some kelp granules I found in a drawer. The green seems to be picking up slightly. Turmeric likes acid soil, so I’m wary of adding ash to supply them with Potassium as it increases pH. I must buy bone meal and some granite dust for the rest of the major nutrients. 

I wish I had a grey water outflow channel organized. From local permaculturists I learned how they feed greywater into channels filled with sawdust which allow the extra high levels of nitrogen to be absorbed and degrade, and in this process for the excessive phosphates in the detergents that come in most grey water to become plant nutrients in the garden rather than in a river where they cause toxic algal blooms and are severe polluters. It sounds like turmeric could make excellent use of these extra nutrients. It doesn’t like to be too soggy though. I’m imagining a system that may work with taro or amadumbe planted really close to the grey water outflow and planting turmeric nearby where it is rich but not too wet, so that its roots can get at the nutrients without the turmeric rhizomes, which we use, rotting from too much dampness.

In addition to being a lovely base spice in a lot of Asian cuisines, from Iran to Indonesia, fresh as well as dried and powdered turmeric rhizomes have a host of beneficial health benefits, and there is a lot of material on the net on health and turmeric. For an initial ‘taste’ of the health benefits see the link below.

sitemap

------

home page with lots of useful hints on natural gardening

------

growing food plants for natural gardens 

------

an album of bizarre, beautiful Zingiberales flowers 

------

health benefits of turmeric consumption

You’re a home gardener ! Share your experiences and questions !

We all know about home gardening. Tell us about your successes, challenges and ask about issues that bother you. You may have the luxury of a back garden, but there are other ways we learn. Few people age without growing something or buying vegetables during their lives ! It is absolutely guaranteed that you have learned things which can help others on their gardening journey.

We invite you to share your stories, ask questions, because if a thing has bothered you it will bother others too. Someone may have a solution ! No question is too small. There is learning for everyone involved, for you, for me (yes, I learn from every question), for us all. Exciting stuff !

We are starting on a new journey. Every week we will profile your letters ! The best stories and questions we receive.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

day one and two of fertilization program 
Pity at my turmeric's palour started me with 1 to 10 diluted urine, as missing nitrogen can cause palour. It seemed to have no effect for about four days, …

Click here to write your own.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

SEARCH


Recent Articles

  1. Another way to recycle plastic in the nursery

    Nov 03, 17 01:28 PM

    I don't know what to do with these milk bags. Other ways of buying milk I can't afford. But they make PERFECT planting bags.

    Read More

  2. pond building

    Oct 24, 17 03:56 PM

    throwing a concrete base during pond building for a multi-purpose water tank, natural pool and fish pond

    Read More

  3. eggs from a Cabbage White ?

    Oct 16, 17 02:26 PM

    That white butterfly on the mustard flower looks like a Cabbage White, and the interwebs says we'll soon have a brassica massacre... These do look very

    Read More

BLUE GARDEN FLOWER ALBUM 

HOW TO CONTROL FRUITFLIES

How to make good Compost.

HOW TO MAKE GOOD COMPOST