Growing Turmeric in Temperate Climates

Turmeric is a wonderful plant known as “the golden spice” in India.  It grows wild in tropical parts of the world and is primarily grown for the rhizomes it produces.  For thousands of years tumeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and has many beneficial properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial. Turmeric is extremely good for skin and also helps in digestion. Turmeric also helps in treating, jaundice, liver disease, urinary tract disease, sore throat, colds and is anti-carcinogenic. Thebeneficial properties of turmeric are now being recognized by the western researchers.

Although Turmeric is native to tropical regions, it can be grown successfully in home gardens or for market in temperate areas, especially ones that experience humid summers. Here are the basics considerations and requirements:

  • Start turmeric rhizomes inside at the end of February or beginning of March.
  • Place the rhizomes in pots with moist peat or coconut noir.
  • Turmeric takes several weeks to sprout, so be patient.  Expect a wait of around 6-8 weeks.
  • Until the turmeric begins to sprout it can be kept in a dark area where moisture will be maintained.
  • Once it sprouts move the pot to a warm, sunny location until the soil is warm enough to plant outside.
  • When the soil temperature outside reaches 70 degrees you can plant the turmeric directly in the ground or, if you prefer to container garden, leave it in a pot.
  • To plant in the ground, did a 6″-8″ deep hole and mix in a compost-based fertilizer.
  • Space plants about 2 feet apart, they will grow to 4-6 feet tall.
  • Keep the area well watered, but not soggy and use a fine mist if possible.
  • Make sure the soil is loose (well composted) to allow good rhizome growth.
  • At the end of the season dig up the rhizomes, cut back the tops, and enjoy fresh turmeric all winter long.

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