Thursday, October 3, 2013

How To: Grow Turmeric Root

We've mentioned a couple times here on the blog that we're trying to grow turmeric root, so we thought today would be a good time for the full rundown and updates.

Turmeric is one of those super versatile plants. It's a tropical variety and widely known for its medicinal and health benefits and is traditionally used as a dye in everything from fabric to foods as a yellowing agent. Most commonly, it's known to be used as an ingredient in dishes like curry. It also produces really beautiful and unique looking flowers. After planting the root for a full season, we should be able to dig it back up, cut off new root tubers to replant and use what we want from the larger root for cooking.

We'd originally picked up this little piece of organic turmeric root from the grocery store back in March, thinking we'd try planting it with our other spring plantings, but as life would have it, it ended up hanging out on our windowsill over the spring and summer months:


Then low and behold magically in mid August we noticed the root beginning to sprout on it's own:


I'm telling you, plants always find a way to grow, even when outside of their natural element.

It continued growing, so we decided to plant it and see if we'd be able to get it to flower or grow larger root rhizomes. We initially planted it at the same time we planted all of our other rooted cuttings from around the house:


Planting was a simple matter of filling a small container with soil and gently pressing the tuber just beneath the soil, enough to leave the green sprout poking out the top:


After a healthy watering, we just let it be (start humming Beatles song here). Not even a week after planting the tuber, it really took off:


Isn't the spirally nature of the stem interesting? We're not sure if this is more common in tropical plants, but it's fascinating to see the different ways plants generate and grow.

Two weeks after taking the above photo, we arrived home from our week in NYC to discover a giant leaf jetting off the side of the spirally stem:


And now that we're a couple weeks past those last pictures, here's how we're looking right now with two big healthy leaves:


This weekend we'll most likely transfer the plant to a bigger container that we can bring inside. Since turmeric is a tropical plant, we'll need to keep it indoors throughout the cooler season if we want a shot at any chance of keeping it alive.

Mary and I both are excited to see if we'll get it to flower, since they are so unique and tropical looking. How are you preparing for the cooler evenings ahead and have you attempted growing turmeric?

16 comments:

  1. Wow - that is one beautiful, easy-to-grow root! Sure puts avocado to shame doesn't it??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is quite beautiful! We are hoping to get it to flower and we will certainly update here if it does!

      Delete
  2. Hi there! Long time watcher, first time commenting. I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your blog. I nominated you for a Shine On Award. You can see your nomination and how to accept the award on this entry: http://witchywords.blogspot.com/2013/10/seven-random-facts-shine-on-award.html

    Thank you so much for sharing your blog with the world! I've enjoyed it immensely and have even grown a few things based on your how-to entries. Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Marietta for following along and reaching! Thank you so much for the nomination!

      Delete
  3. If it is tropical, you'll have to give it enough humidity. Good luck !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we are going to have to figure that out so we will definitely keep you posted!

      Delete
  4. Have a go at it occasionally with a mister, (not the male type, the bottle type) LOL Now I am going to have to find some to plant, can I do Ginger the same way? I love Ginger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judy, ginger is indeed done the same way. We tried it and was unsuccessful but not sure why. We are going to have another go at ginger soon. Let us know if you have any success.

      Delete
  5. I believe if you were to enclose the plant in a clear plastic bag after watering a little less than usual and given good light it may imitate the tropical conditions. ???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that is a thought and we might just try that!

      Delete
  6. This is excellent!! I'm just wondering how you're getting on with this after its first month or so?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is still a beautiful plant living inside and looking strong!

      Delete
  7. Just a quick note on growing Turmeric (and I sure wish someone would have told me this).. After planting a small finger in soil, the main thing is to keep it moist and provide BOTTOM HEAT.. I found this out totally by accident, as this year is the first time I've grown Turmeric.. I put a tray of it in small containers ON TOP of my growLight beginning about February or so.. By April, suddenly there are these vertical shoots appearing that eventually looked like the pics you provided above.. So.........BOTTOM HEAT is super important..
    Enjoy your grow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for this!! I've unsuccessfully been trying to get them to sprout by the window on its own and also in pots but nothing seems to be happening. So I better go invest in a heat mat!

      Delete
  8. I have read in Organic Gardening sources that growing ginger isn't like growing turmeric. Ginger grows UP, so you have to plant in at the bottom of the pot, and as it grows, keep adding soil on top of it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've read that turmeric and ginger root sold in grocery stores is often sprayed with a chemical to stop it shooting. Some have suggested soaking the roots in warm water overnight to get it to shoot. Organically grown should be OK.
    I planted ginger and turmeric, and both produced nice lush leaves but then died back completely when the weather turned cold. I'm hoping they will sprout again when it warms up again.

    ReplyDelete