Today we have a guest post on growing organic tumeric, from Mishka Thomas,an instructor at an American agricultural college and training institute. Gardening is an essential survival skill as is good health. The amount of chemicals used in modern day farming have been linked to increasing health problems. If the day should come that we need to rely on survival skills, growing organically is a best practice… for if medical treatment availability is scarce, we’ll need to be as healthy as possible..
Growing your own organic herb garden may not be a walk in the park, but if you just think about all the health and wealth advantages it can give you, you’ll surely be inspired to start one right away. And who says it needs to be time-consuming and complicated? Believe it or not, you can jump start your organic herbs and spices garden using a very low-maintenance and worry-free crop such as the turmeric plant.
In finding a good source to start with, you have two options to choose from:
- TURMERIC RHIZOME - Turmeric does not grow from fruits, flowers, or seeds, but from rhizomes, which is also referred to as creeping rootstalks or rootstocks, just like ginger. You can directly use store-bought turmeric rhizomes or roots, as long as it is 100 percent fresh, organic, and free from chemical-based pesticides or fertilizers. Go to Indian stores near your area for the best turmeric roots.
- TURMERIC PLANT – Aside from the turmeric rhizome itself, there also turmeric plants available in some local plant nurseries and farmers’ markets. Check out the nearest providers in your area. Remember that one good source is enough to jumpstart a full-scale turmeric project within one season.
How to Make Your Soil Turmeric-Ready?
It is very important to make sure that you only grow your turmeric on a garden bed filled with healthy and organic soil. To do so, make sure that the soil has been dug lightly, filled with quality organic compost, and then place a thick layer of mulch, which is a protective covering used in gardening in order to retain moisture, reduce erosion, avoid weed growth, and keep the soil nutrients intact. Do this procedure at least a month before. If it doesn’t rain, don’t forget to water your garden bed once or twice.
The Best Season for Growing Turmeric
Because turmeric is both a subtropical and tropical plant, it can survive almost any season.
- SPRING – If you’re going to use turmeric rhizomes, it is best to plant it four to six inches deep in early spring. (But if you’re going to use turmeric plant instead of a rhizome, there is no need to wait for spring, as any season will do.) Spring is the time when you’ll see fresh, tiny shoots starting to grow from your rhizomes.
- SUMMER – This is the season when your plant starts growing more up to its full height and starts growing flowers, too. Never forget to water your plants during summer.
- AUTUMN OR WINTER – Your turmeric plant can start to look dry and wilted during chilly winter season. If this happens, cut it down the visible parts from the ground. Don’t worry. Your plant will eventually re-shoot or grow back when spring comes.
On the other hand, if you’re going to grow your plant indoors, due to limited space, make sure to excellently copy these seasons to stimulate the growth of your plant. Adjust your air conditioner for winter and take it outside for summer.
Turmeric Planting 101
Planting turmeric is no different from planting other root crops such as ginger, potatoes, or turnips. Therefore, keeping your soil healthy, loose, and friable is important. Using a garden fork, loosen up your soil and plant your rhizomes at a good depth of 10 to 15 inches.
You can also try another technique by forming little hills or mounds of soil. Plant your turmeric rhizomes into this mound. This way, you don’t have to dig the soil all the time just to know where your turmeric is. Since turmeric can withstand strong weather conditions, even drought, it is unnecessary to water it very often.
Since turmeric is a perennial plant, you’ll see that it will continuously grow every year. The best time to harvest your turmeric is when the visible parts or the leaves you can see on top of the ground have dried up already, which typically happens during cold winter season (although it’s best to wait until the visible parts have completely died).
As soon as winter is over, it’s now safe to harvest your turmeric rhizomes. Feel free to use it in your curries, as a spice to your mouthwatering dishes, or even in your tea!
Mishka Thomas is an instructor at an American agricultural college and training institute. Growing up in a family of farmers, she discovered her love for agriculture and organic farming at a very young age. She fully believes that farming is a very crucial component of life that not only nurtures the earth, but affects health, too. Today, she advocates the use of chemical-free and unprocessed foods, including herbs and spices, to her students by sharing different techniques in planting beneficial crops organically. And turmeric with curcumin is among his many favorites.