Turmeric is grown for its powder, which has a strong bitter flavor. It is one of the members of the ginger family. Luckily, the herbs are easy to grow. They are grown from rhizomes. Turmeric thrives well in warm climates. However, if you live in an area with cool temperatures, you can also grow them in pots.
Varieties of Turmeric
- Curcuma longa
- Curcuma zedoaria
- Curcuma aromatic
How to Grow Turmeric
1. Get the Rhizomes
You can buy the rhizomes from health food stores or groceries. Get the ones with numerous buds. They should be pest free and derived from organically grown mother plants.
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2. Selecting the Right Pot
Plastic or ceramic pots are ideal for growing the herb. Get a large pot as the herbs may spread extensively. It should be around 12 inches deep and wide, to allow the tubers to spread freely. Plant either one or two turmeric rhizomes in a single pot. The pots should have drainage holes. Cover the holes with stones, to avoid dripping of the soil. Use clay, terracotta, or plastic pots.
3. Placing the Pots
Ensure the plants are protected from winds. The plants do well in partial shade, as direct sunlight is harmful to them. Still, you can grow your plants indoors near windows or under grow lights.
4. Planting the Rhizomes
The perfect time for planting the herb is during spring or summer. If you are in the tropics, you can plant them all year round.
Get the rhizomes. Break large ones into smaller pieces. Each of them should have two or three buds. Add well-drained, organic soil in the pot. Put the herbs two inches below the surface of the soil. Place the rhizomes on the Centre of the soil in the pot and rotate it so that several buds will face upwards. Add adequate water on the pots. The herbs prefer slightly acidic soils for good growth. Cover the rhizomes with the potting soil, but don’t fill to the brim of the pot.
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Turmeric can be grown in diverse types of soil. However, fertile loamy soils are the most preferable. It should be moist, but not soggy. Garden soil with compost is an ideal option for the herb. When planting, you can also add a slow-release fertilizer for maximum yields. Do not add a fertilizer with too much nitrogen as it will only result in full foliage and poor quality rhizomes. Mulch the plants after the rhizomes sprout.
The herbs require a warm and humid climate. They can grow in different tropical conditions. When temperatures drop to below 10 degrees. Move your plants indoors or cover them to prevent winter frost. This will prevent the leaves from wilt or turning yellow.
3. Correct Position
Place your pot in an area with no winds. In the tropics, place your plants under shade as too much exposure to the sun might
Ensure the soil is moist throughout the growing period. In dry weather, mist the foliage as the plants does well in high humidity.
You can mulch your plants to preserve moisture. Still, the mulch dries up and offers organic matter to the plant.
6. Fertilizer Application
Use an all-purpose fertilizer for your plants. Still, manure or compost is a good option too. The compost should be well-aged. Don’t fall into the trap of adding actively decomposing compost.
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Dealing with Pests and Diseases
Fortunately, turmeric is not prone to many pests and diseases. However, scales and red spider mites may attack your plants. Caterpillars may make your leaves appear discolored. Use organic pesticides to get rid of them.
Below are some of the pests that affect the herbs
1. Rhizome Fly
The flies drill holes on the rhizomes. They feed on it, causing rhizome rot. To prevent them, select approved seeds from reliable dealers. If some of the plants have been affected, get rid of them completely. Apply organic pesticides.
They feed on rhizomes and rots, causing stunting. To prevent them, use rhizomes that are nematodes free. Dispose of infected plants to prevent the spread of the pests to other healthy plants.
Common diseases include:
1. Rhizome Rot
The disease makes the plant start wilting. The rhizomes start rotting too. It occurs mainly as a result of plant, overwatering the plants, which lead to waterlogging.
2. Bacterial Wilt
The symptoms of the disease include sudden wilting without other symptoms like leaf color change. It also causes the hollowing of the stem. To prevent it, avoid overhead irrigation method for your plant.
3. Nitrogen Deficiency
If the plants are not getting adequate nitrogen, the leaves will start turning to yellow or pale.to prevent it, use foliar spray
Turmeric matures within 8-10 months. Harvesting is done when the leaves start to turn yellow, and the stems begin to dry. If you don’t harvest the herbs at this stage, it will start rotting slowly. To harvest it, just dig up the whole plant. Cut the rhizomes and replant the remaining part. You can store some of the rhizomes for next season planting. Place them in slightly moist peat moss and store them in a cool area that is well ventilated.
- Boil the cut rhizomes
- Remove the skin on them
- Place them in a tray and leave them to dry.
- After they dry completely, grind them using a spice mill, mortar and pestle, or grinder. Store the powder in an airtight container.
- If you notice a strange smell in your plants, it could be that the rhizomes have started rotting due to overwatering
- Turmeric requires a lot of water to grow. Still, they take long periods to be ready for harvest.
Benefits of Turmeric
- Turmeric is the main component of curry powder. It gives it a yellow color.
- The herb is used for making coloring dye for clothes
- Some people prefer eating the shoots and rhizomes raw.
Turmeric has many health benefits that include:
- It boosts the immune system
- Promotes weight loss
- Its anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing chest congestion
- It is a natural cold and cough remedy
- Improves the overall skin health
- Promotes digestion
The leaves, roots, and flowers are edible. The roots add flavor to different dishes. Fresh roots taste better than dried ones. They are also less bitter. The flowers can be used in making salads. Fresh leaves add flavor t soups and curries.
Frequently Asked Questions
A turmeric plant can grow up to a height of 80 cm.
Turmeric takes an average of 10 months from planting to harvesting
Water your plants after every two days, to ensure that the soil is always moist
Yes. The fresh leaves are used in various dishes.Â They are also used as a food color and a curry powder component.
The plants can grow up to 3 feet. The leaves can grow up to 5 inches wide.
Turmeric is a super herb, given its all medicinal benefits. During the growing season, the plant requires minimal care.Â After around ten months, you will enjoy fresh herbs right from your yard or balcony.