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How to grow turmeric at home? Turmeric is an excellent option to consider growing if you want a plant that is both unusual and simple to cultivate. The inclusion of turmeric in a home garden is highly recommended due to the plant’s many benefits, which include its peculiar flavor as well as its brilliant yellow color. But if you’ve never cultivated turmeric before, you may be curious about how to take care of it and where to begin. The following are my most important recommendations for growing turmeric:
How to Grow Turmeric at Home: Prepare in Advance!
Although it is not difficult to cultivate, turmeric calls for a prolonged growth season of around ten months that is free of frost. It is preferable to start your turmeric seeds inside before planting them outdoors in the majority of places. In the low desert of Arizona, at the beginning of January, I began the process of pre-sprouting my turmeric (zone 9b).
In preparation for planting, you should purchase organic turmeric. Look for roots that are robust and healthy. Turmeric should not be used if it has any tender spots or bruising. In a perfect world, each piece of turmeric would contain many nodes (this is where the sprout will form). Try shopping at a local farmer’s market or grocery store to get organic turmeric.
It is necessary to pre-sprout the turmeric in potting soil in order to identify which rhizomes will be successful. Plant the turmeric in the ground outdoors if you can do so when the weather is warm enough (see the next step). If you still have time before the final frost of the season, you should pot up the sprouted turmeric in pots that are 6 inches in diameter.
To pot up turmeric:
- I use the raised bed mix from Arizona Worm Farm, which is high-quality potting soil, and I fill the pots approximately three-quarters of the way with the dirt.
- The sprouted turmeric should be placed on top with the sprouted side facing up, and then 1-2 inches of soil should be used to cover it.
- Until it is time to plant outdoors, make sure the containers are kept well-watered and that they have access to heat (through a heating pad) and light.
- Before planting them outdoors, transplanted turmeric plants should first be hardened off.
How to Get Started Growing Turmeric
When there is no longer a risk of frost, it is time to start planting seeds. The optimal time to plant turmeric is when the soil temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). In the low desert of Arizona in the month of March, I plant my turmeric (zone 9b).
- Find a spot in your garden that gets natural shade, particularly if you live in a region where summers are quite hot. If it’s essential, provide some more shade.
- The ideal conditions for growing turmeric include soil that is sandy, rich in organic content, and has a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5.
- When planting, provide some space between each tuber—about 8 inches is a good distance—so that the roots have room to develop into robust plants and spread out.
- Raised beds, grow bags, and containers are all suitable growing environments for turmeric. It is preferable to have a soil depth of at least 12 inches.
Care Instructions for the Spice Turmeric
It is important to water your plant at least once a week throughout the growth season (more often in warmer regions), but you should also allow it to dry out a little bit in between watering to avoid rot. The development of turmeric is enhanced when it is fertilized on a consistent basis. For the best results, I use this fertilizer once every few weeks throughout the growing season.
If you reside in an area that has scorching summers, the leaves may have the appearance of being stressed out at that time of year. It’s all good. They are used to the tropical conditions, including the high humidity; therefore, the dry heat is difficult for them. It is important to provide shade and water on a consistent basis, but you should be careful not to over-water (or they may rot).
When Is the Appropriate Time to Harvest Turmeric?
When it comes time to harvest your turmeric, keep a careful check on the leaves of the plants; if they begin to turn yellow, it is an indication that your tubers are nearing being ready to be picked! As the tuber grows below ground level, the yellowed leaves will finally fall off and be replaced by bare stems.
Take the harvest of turmeric before the first frost in the autumn or winter. Late December or the beginning of January finds me in the Arizona low desert, where I collect my turmeric (zone 9b).
Reduce the amount of water applied to the soil approximately two weeks before harvesting to allow the tubers to develop to their maximum size and maturity below the soil surface.
To harvest turmeric, delve down into the dirt around the plant’s roots with extreme caution. After that, work the dirt with your hands to loosen it up, and then gently remove the plants from the ground. After you have finished harvesting them, clean the rhizomes with a hose and cut any lengthy roots that you find.
How to Keep the Color of Turmeric
After you’ve finished harvesting, separate any cloves that you wish to plant the following year. Due to the fact that turmeric has such a lengthy growth season, it is often possible to start pre-sprouting turmeric not too long after the crop has been harvested! The following are some methods for preserving turmeric:
- Freeze-dry turmeric (Learn more about freeze-drying in this post.)
- Turmeric may be “cured” by dehydrating it for a few days in a warm, humid environment in a single layer without it contacting other pieces of turmeric. Curing causes the skin to become thicker and more tightly wound, which extends the turmeric’s shelf life. Turmeric that has been cured should be kept in a plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.
What I’ve Discovered Regarding the Cultivation of Turmeric
- You may gather immature turmeric at any time throughout the growth season by gently digging down and cutting off a portion from the main root. If you do this, you will have fresh turmeric.
- It could take more than one growing season for turmeric to reach its ideal size. In regions with relatively mild winters, you may consider turmeric to be a perennial and keep it in the ground all year.
- When harvesting, you may be able to encourage new plant growth by breaking off little pieces. All hail the selfless volunteers!
- The turmeric leaves a stain! When you are utilizing, keep this in mind.
- It was the only time I needed to purchase turmeric rhizomes. In later years, I set aside some of the crop so that I might use it to start new plants.
Growing turmeric may be a rewarding experience for gardeners of any level of expertise, from novices to seasoned pros. Not only does it provide a delicious taste and stunning color to the food you prepare, but it also has wonderful therapeutic characteristics. Go up, get out there, and get those seeds planted!