Saturday, April 6, 2013

Turmeric Time!

One of the fantastic classes available at the Organic Growers School (OGS) this year was on growing turmeric. I wasn’t able to attend this class, but my neighbor did, and she was greatly inspired by it. Turmeric is very medicinal, and it is starting to be recognized for its many health benefits. Here’s an info graphic that only touches on some of the amazing qualities of turmeric.

turmeric chart

My neighbor and I have been talking about growing our own medicinal gardens for a while now, and this turmeric class clinched it. It was just too great a plant to ignore.
Turmeric is a temperamental, tropical plant that hates the cold. Luckily, we live in Florida and our weather is perfect for growing this root. We ordered some organic turmeric root rhizomes (see, organic coconut coir for a growing medium, and black plastic 5 gallon grow bags.

2 pounds of Turmeric rhizomes

The coir comes in 5kg compressed blocks. After rehydrating the blocks, the damp coconut coir filled my wheelbarrow. We added a couple of gallons of our home grown organic compost and some gypsum pellets.

Coconut coir & compost media

Once we had our growing medium well mixed, we filled our grow bags. Turmeric needs about 10 inches of soil below the rhizomes. I filled the bags and measured to make sure that each was at least 10 inches deep.

Turmeric grow bags

Then we placed 3 turmeric rhizomes in each bag. That is probably one more rhizome than is best for the size of our bags, but we are not sure that all of the rhizomes will sprout. We simply placed the rhizomes on top of the growing medium.

rhizomes in pot

Then we sprinkled less than an inch more growing medium over the rhizomes. Now we wait. It takes about three weeks for the rhizomes to sprout, and about nine months for turmeric root to be ready for harvest. We are hoping to turn our four pounds of rhizomes to 40 pounds of commercially viable turmeric root in late December/early January. I’ll keep you all posted on my crop’s progress.

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