Planting turmeric is fairly easy though it needs patience, especially when you are growing it in a cool climate! This is very similar to growing ginger as you have read in my earlier Growing Ginger post. Also like ginger, turmeric is grown from the root which is called a rhizome. Turmeric has a reputation of giving great health benefits and a little goes a long way as it is strong in flavour. Read more about turmeric in this BBC Good Food post.
I like to start with an organic rhizome but it can be tricky to source it. This year, it was made even harder with the isolation in place. So I ordered my organic turmeric with my online food shopping. Unfortunately, some of the sprouting buds had been removed to increase their shelf life … the very bits that I needed on the turmeric to grow it!
So if you are buying your turmeric rhizomes, it will be great if they have the sprouts or buds showing signs of growth when you buy it. This will make the growing process a lot quicker.
Planting Turmeric to Start
I did not give up however, and soaked my rhizomes in tepid water overnight. The next day, I planted them in a small pots with multipurpose compost in them.
Growing your Turmeric Rhizome
- If your rhizome has a sprout, them place it upwards in the pot. Your pot should have holes at the bottom for good drainage for excess water. Fill the pot up to two thirds with new multipurpose compost and then place your rhizome on it.
- Cover the rhizome with the remaining third of the compost. You can dampen the compost a little with tepid water and leave in a warm place. Do not make the compost too wet.
- I kept the pot uncovered in a warm place near my boiler in the kitchen. Keep an eye out for the sprout to appear, patience is the key. If you already had a sprout, it will not be long before you see the beautiful new green shoots appearing.
- Once this happens, move the pot of turmeric to a warm and sunny windowsill. Water it well from now onwards, as it grows.
- Turmeric has wide, bright green leaves that will unfurl pretty quickly. When you see little roots peeping out of the bottom of the pot, it means the turmeric plant is ready to be moved into a bigger pot.
- Use more new multipurpose compost to transplant it without disturbing the roots. Water well and keep in a sunny position.
Tips for Growing Turmeric Successfully
- Turmeric loves sunshine so a sunny spot is perfect. However, young plants can get scorched so keep them away from the midday sun when the temperatures are very high.
- A little misting on hot days will be well appreciated especially if the days are dry. Turmeric grows in hot humid climates so we are simply mimicking this.
- Keep turmeric plants watered well as they don’t like to get too thirsty.
- Buy bags of patience as you will need it when waiting for the turmeric rhizomes to sprout!
Planting Turmeric Outdoors
You can move your turmeric plants outdoors to grow in a sheltered bright spot. The plants will need to be hardened before you move them outdoors. This means that you can place your plants outside starting with a few hours and then whole days to get them used to the conditions outdoors. Bring them indoors at night; do this for a week or two.
Last summer, I planted my turmeric in my patio planter and it grew happily against the warm brick wall.
I harvest my turmeric in autumn before the frosty nights begin. Simply lift the plants off by dislodging the sides with a small fork or hand trowel if you are growing in a planter. You can separate the rhizomes from the green foliage. I would save a couple of good looking ones to plant again and the rest can be used for cooking or drying!
Hope this has inspired you to grow some fresh turmeric too!