Knowing how to grow turmeric root will keep you in a constant supply of this wonderful herb as this plant is a perennial that will continue to grow with proper care and divisions in your home for many years.
Turmeric is an extremely easy plant to grow at home and in your indoor herb garden. It adds a beautiful addition to your own decor with its beautiful large green leaves and it can even flower.
It is a very low-maintenance plant needing only partial sunlight so can be moved to various locations throughout your home. There needs to be a bit more space than your traditional herb plants as it can grow to 3 feet in height.
What is Turmeric Root – The Golden Spice
A long-standing staple herb in Indian cuisine Turmeric root has been the seasoning base in some of the most delicious cuisines. The beautiful vibrant golden color that it adds to dishes has also been used as fabric dyes, and for holistic medicinal purposes.
Turmeric has made a lot of headlines in the alternative and holistic health news for amazing medicinal properties in recent years. Some people have referred to Turmeric Curcumin as the “miracle herb.
Turmeric plant is not harvested for leaves like most other herbs but for its roots through divisions. You can use the roots of the plant fresh or dry it into powdered form for later use.
How to Grow Turmeric Root Step-by-Step
Planting Turmeric Root – Called Rhizomes:
Turmeric is not planted by seeds but by the root, or otherwise called rhizomes. I would not recommend trying to start a turmeric root bought in a traditional grocery store unless it is noted that it is organically grown and untreated. Rhizomes for growing can be purchased at many seed supply companies as well as other venues specifically for re-growth.
A healthy turmeric rhizome for planting will have a rich even color and have at least two or more nodes or buds protruding from the root. Nodes are white rounded bumps that expand from the base of the rhizome, this is where the tendrils of the root hairs will grow and expand into the soil.
- At least a 12″ deep pot with drainage holes as the roots grow quite vigorously and deep. It should also be at least 12 to 18″ in wide so there is plenty of room for your rhizomes to grow for harvest and expansion.
- Rich organic potting mix that is well draining. You will be harvesting turmeric from the soil so growing it in organic soil is a must in my opinion. You do not want anything that can be harmful around the part of the plant that you will later consume.
- Plan a place in your home that will allow enough space for future growth and the temperature stays a steady comfortable 65F.
- Turmeric likes filtered sun and is very shade tolerant. Too much direct sunlight can actually cause issues with your plant and then leaves are sensitive to burning.
- Cut or carefully break large rhizomes into smaller pieces. Each piece should have two to three nodes or buds.
- Fill your pots with your growing medium and water to get it evenly moist, not soaking.
- Place your rhizome about 2 inches below the soil surface with the root buds (nodes) facing upwards towards the surface.
- Lightly water around the planting of your new rhizome
Turmeric Growing Conditions – Water, Light & Fertilizer:
Turmeric is a slow grower and will take some patience. It may take a month before you even begin to see the first signs of growth emerging from the pot. During this time try not to get discouraged but keep up with its basic needs and it will soon pay off.
Water needs: Keep the soil evenly moist but never overly saturated. Turmeric likes damp but not swamp. Too much water can slow down growth. Water when you feel that the soil is slightly dry to the touch.
In addition, humidity is an added need of your turmeric plant once you have leafy growth. Mist your plant lightly and often serves it well.
Light needs: I have already touched on this a bit earlier but it is important to make another note of the light requirements of your turmeric plant. This is one of your herbs that does not want to take up your sunny window space. Indirect or filtered light is best for the growth of your plant. I do not have a lot of light in my bathroom, and high levels of humidity and find my turmeric plant loves it in there.
Fertilizer: Turmeric can be a heavy feeder once it is in full growth and can quickly drain the nutrients in a container. Every couple of weeks I like to add a sprinkle of worm castings to the top of the soil for a balanced organic fertilizer. Any organic fertilizer could work, follow the directions and feed every other week.
Harvesting Turmeric Root:
A turmeric plant takes 8 to 10 months of growth before it is ready for harvest and will give you signs that it has reached maturity. The leaves of your plant will begin to yellow and then brown significantly and the stems will start to look dry, similar to corn aging in the field.
- The easiest way to harvest is to tip the entire pot plant and all unto a surface and then shake the soil from around the roots of the plant. You may want to do this outdoors or lay down plastic as this can get messy.
- Cut the stems at an inch above the root bases. The leaves can be put into your compost pile. Break or cut some pieces of rhizomes aside for replant in fresh potting mix later on.
- Clean the rhizomes by placing them under running cool water and gently rub off the excess dirt.
Preserving your Harvest:
That beautiful orange color of the turmeric root will come off on your hands so using gloves when handling those fresh rhizomes is a great idea or you will be trying to scrub that color off for weeks.
Keeping it fresh: Turmeric rhizomes can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 months in sealed baggie or container. You can also freeze them for up to a year or more. If freezing I recommend double bagging to prevent freezer burn and make sure that you have dried them well on a paper towel in advance.
Making Turmeric Powder: Place your turmeric in a pot and cover with water, if you have treated water I recommend using bottled or distilled water to prevent contaminants. Boil the rhizomes until they are tender enough to pierce with a fork easily. Drain and allow it to cool enough to handle. Using gloves rub the outer skin off, it doesn’t need to be perfect just get as much as you can. You can use a dehydrator at 140 degrees to dry quickly or if not available just place them in the sun to slowly dry over time. Once completely dried grind the dried root and store in airtight containers. Dried turmeric can last 2 to 3 years if sealed properly.
Turmeric Root Benefits – “The Miracle Herb”
Turmeric has exploded with a wealth of listed benefits for health, beauty, and nutritional values, I will cover just a few in this article. Remember do not start any herbal or medical treatments without first consulting a doctor or researching possible side effects.
I have listed just 7 ways Turmeric root can benefit you.
- Anti-Cancer Herb – Been found to be both preventative and turmeric curcumin has shown to have effects in killing active cancer cells.
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – Shown to prevent memory loss by reducing inflammation and plaque levels in the brain and stimulate better oxygen flows.
- Arthritis Pain – Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to help reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
- Weight Loss– Shown to have positive impacts on metabolic rates to increase fat metabolism and is a natural detoxifier.
- Healing cuts and scrapes – Turmeric has antibiotic properties that can kill infectious bacteria and its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce swelling and slow bleeding.
- Wrinkle Treatment – Loaded with antioxidants a face mask made with turmeric has been shown to cut down on fine lines and wrinkles.
- Eczema and Dry Skin – When added to dry skin and eczema treatments, turmeric’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties show positive response and healing effects.
An Abundant Supply of Turmeric
Remember to keep a piece of your rhizome everytime you harvest your turmeric plant and you will always have an ample supply of turmeric growing. It keeps so well fresh and dried that you should be swimming in this golden herb of India and enjoying its beautiful green foliage growing in your home.
Now that you know how to grow turmeric root you will be prepared to grow similar rhizome style herbs such as Ginger and Galangal. These are also similar herbs grown for their beneficial and flavorful roots.
If you have any questions or want to share your experiences growing turmeric or any other herb, please leave your comments below.
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