If you want to know how to grow turmeric, my latest video shares how in less than three minutes:
It doesn’t have the song in it like my older video, but I do include shots of turmeric growing in one of my new shade garden areas, plus show you how simple it is to plant.
Here’s the previous video with the Meredith Brooks cover:
Though a lot of people have no idea where the spice turmeric comes from, it’s actually just the root of a simple-looking little ginger plant.
It’s also ridiculously easy to grow wherever you can grow other gingers.
Here’s how I do it.
How To Grow Turmeric
In my observations turmeric seems to be somewhat more tolerant of sun than its culinary and decorative cousins; however, I still find it’s happiest with half-sun or less.
Plant turmeric in a shady spot with rich soil and mulch and you’ll have it for years to come.
In the fall (like right now), you can plant roots here and there like I did in my old food forest.
They won’t emerge until right around the beginning of summer and will sleep happily beneath the mulch until then. You can plant turmeric anywhere from 2-6″ deep and it still comes up. I like to go for about 4″ down.
Don’t be anxious in the spring for it to show up. It won’t. You’ll think it’s dead, you’ll be sad, you’ll doubt your gardening ability, you’ll give up on your faith…
…and then, sometime in June, little shoots will emerge and you’ll repent of your doubt.
It’s also pretty in an edible landscaping plan. Just know that it sleeps half the year!
Mine dies down in November and comes back year after year in a bigger clump.
Make sure your turmeric aren’t getting too much water during their winter dormancy. Though it hasn’t happened to me yet, I’ve heard that can induce rot and kill your plants. Wet summers and dry winters are perfect for growing happy turmeric.
Which leads me to the one downside of growing turmeric: it takes two years for a good clump.
You may grow it faster in the tropics but in zone 8/9 where I used to grow it I couldn’t get a good yield until two years after planting. I harvest when the tops die back in fall. Fortunately, it’s so easy to grow and takes up so little space that you can pretty much plant turmeric and forget about it.
When you pull up the roots, wash them, let them dry a little, then store in the crisper drawer. They’ll also keep on the counter for a few weeks but are subject to drying out.
Note: If you live north of zone 8, turmeric also grows EASILY as a potted plant. Just bring it in during the winter and don’t give it too much water. After two years, dump out the pot and voila – roots!
And that, my friends, is how to grow turmeric no matter where you live. Grab some live roots from the local ethnic market and get planting. Or you can always find live turmeric roots on ebay.
SPUDOMETER RATING: 3 Spuds!
Latin Name: Curcurma longa
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Nitrogen Fixer: No
Cold-hardy: Leaves are not – roots survive under mulch
Exposure: Shade/partial sun
Part Used: Roots – leaves can be used for tea and seasoning
Propagation: Division of roots
Method of preparation: Fresh, dried, pickled
Storability: Good if kept somewhat moist but better to store in ground
Ease of growing: Easy
Availability: Plants are rare but roots from store will usually grow
*Photo credit for turmeric images (creative commons license)