Turmeric /Curcuma Domestica syn. Curcuma Longa/
Turmeric is an upright perennial herb growing about 1m tall from an underground rhizome. It has a short stem and 6 to10 leaves about 30-50cm long.
The plant has thick central rhizomes and growing from these are secondary, finger shaped rhizomes.
It produces tall stunningly beautiful flower spikes.
The rhizomes are dried and ground into a yellow powder used in cooking, as an ingredient in curry powders.
The root is a source of yellow and orange dyes for silk and wool.
The fresh rhizomes are used in cooking, as an ingredient in curry pastes. Fresh or dried turmeric is used to make golden milk, turmeric latte and other medicinal drinks.
The leaves are used to wrap food imparting a distinct flavor in particular fish.
Young shoots and rhizome tips are eaten raw or cooked. They can be chopped finely and added to curries etc., where they impart a subtle, spicy flavour.
Moist tropics and subtropics.
Turmeric is a perennial but is most often treated as an annual and harvested and replanted every year.
The plant dies back in Winter and the rhizomes become dormant.
They reshoot and resume growth with the first rain after the soil warms up in Spring.
Prefers a fertile, well-drained soil in a moist shaded position but will also grow in full sun. Will not tolerate being water logged.
Turmeric loves to grow as an understory and can be intercropped with young trees. It is more productive when grown on a mound or on ridges, giving the rhizomes room to expand.
Plant small pieces of rhizomes (sets) with at least two buds each in late Spring when the soil warms up. Plant at a depth of about 5-7 cm and at 30 cm spacing’s. Old clumps should be refreshed every few years by digging up the entire clump and replanting from sets in a prepared plot.
Rhizomes, young shoots and leaves
Risks and weed potential
Harvesting & Processing
The crop is harvested when the leaves wither and fall over, about 10 months after planting.
Lift the rhizomes out of the ground and brush off soil.
Wash gently and store undamaged rhizomes in a cool dark place.
Individual rhizomes can also be carefully ‘bandicooted’ from the side of the plant and the rest left to grow.
In this way the plant can be left to grow into a clump and harvested year round.