How to grow Turmeric, the impressive plant that gives us a wonderful spice
Turmeric is a popular spice that is widely used in Asian cuisine and is famous for its unique taste and the multiple benefits it has for our health. Turmeric gives color and characteristic aromatic flavor to sauces, mustards, butters and cheeses. The turmeric spice we use comes from a tropical bulbous plant called turmeric and originates from Southeast Asia. The famous spice is made by drying and rubbing the yellow-orange rhizomes of the plant that grow in the soil.
What conditions does turmeric cultivation need to grow?
Turmeric is a tropical plant that loves heat and humidity. It grows best in fertile fluffy soil that does not hold much water. Ideal temperatures for growing turmeric are between 20-35 ° C. In colder areas we can keep it indoors as an indoor plant.
What season and how do we plant turmeric?
Turmeric is planted in early spring after the winter frosts have passed and it is harvested in late autumn after about 7-8 months. In nurseries we will find flowering turmeric plants but they are sold mainly for ornamental use and have a relatively high price. The easiest way to create turmeric plants is by dividing the rhizomes. Besides, turmeric belongs to plants that are cultivated with pieces that are left over from the kitchen. We procure large rhizomes from the grocery store in our neighborhood or from an organic store that has several protrusions (buds) from which turmeric plants will grow. Cut the turmeric into pieces about 5 cm in size, so that each piece contains 2 or 3 buds. Leave the turmeric pieces in a warm and dry place to dry their cuts before planting them in the soil at a depth of 4-5 cm and at planting distances of about 50 cm between them.
How do we plant turmeric in a pot?
First, we choose small nursery pots with a diameter of 10-15 cm to plant the pieces of turmeric. Use light topsoil to fill the nursery pots or make our own mixture by mixing peat and perlite in a ratio of 2: 1. After the turmeric pieces germinate and germinate, after 4-5 weeks, we transplant them into a larger pot with a diameter of about 40 cm that has holes to remove the excess water with watering. And in this case, we choose a light and fertile substrate that ensures good drainage. Turmeric needs semi-shaded sheltered places to grow outdoors and that is why we choose places with west or east orientation on our balcony. If we keep it inside the house, we choose a bright spot that is not hit by the direct rays of the sun.
How often does turmeric need watering?
Due to its tropical origin, turmeric needs hydrothermal conditions to thrive. We water regularly every 2-3 days during the spring and autumn period and every 1-2 days during the warm summer period. In hot and dry weather conditions, it is good to wet the turmeric leaves to increase the relative humidity and to prevent drying of the foliage. However, care should be taken when watering, as excessive moisture can cause rot at the root of the plant and characteristic dark spots on the leaves.
What other care does turmeric cultivation need?
Turmeric needs nutrients and fertilizer to give us good production. From mid-spring to early autumn, we add complete organic fertilizer, ie rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to enhance its growth and flowering. The cultivation of turmeric does not present particular problems from insect infestations and diseases, only the nightshade can damage its foliage. In this case, spray with a biological preparation of potassium salts or with an ecological solution of green soap by mixing 1 tablespoon in 1 liter of water. Turmeric does not need pruning when grown. The only care needed is to remove the yellowed and dried leaves to stimulate its growth and ensure better ventilation conditions.
When do we harvest turmeric and how do we preserve it?
Turmeric is harvested in late autumn when the leaves begin to turn yellow and dry out. Carefully remove the rhizomes with your hands, taking care not to break them and cut the shoots, clean them and store them in a dry dark place. Fresh turmeric rhizomes can be stored for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator or can be cut into pieces and kept in the freezer for 6 months. Alternatively, we can dry the turmeric rhizomes in a brightly ventilated area, then grate them and store them in powder form to use directly in our food.
And a secret for turmeric
Some papers used in chemistry labs for acidity indicators are impregnated with turmeric. These papers remain yellow when placed in acidic solutions and turn red-orange in alkaline solutions.
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