Ginger and turmeric can be grown together without difficulty. It can be a way of getting more from a small space, but there are things to consider before you jump into it.
Many people now find themselves living in locations that don’t have much space for growing lots of things, so in these situations, it makes sense to look for plants that can grow closer together and share similar attributes.
Ginger and turmeric grow similarly and shouldn’t shade each other because they both enjoy the shade. The size of both ginger and turmeric is similar, as is the spread, although the turmeric is a heavier-shaped leaf vs. the more delicate blades of the ginger.
To get the most benefit from growing them together, we look at typical conditions the plants prefer and see if we can provide them.
What are the conditions turmeric likes to grow in
Turmeric loves organic rich, well-draining fertile soil that is partly shaded for parts of the day. It will grow in poor soil; however, the rhizome yield suffers greatly.
Our experience with growing turmeric is that it will grow almost anywhere in our yard, with superior results coming from the spots that closely match the plant’s needs.
When these conditions are created, the harvest results are what can be described as becoming self-sufficient in turmeric.
The parts of the yard where the plant does not do so well are often the targets of a general soil makeover with compost and good mulch.
To highlight the harvest differences between a well-prepared area vs. a poor area, our data shows that we can increase the harvest yield tenfold by growing in prime conditions.
When you live a self-sufficient home-life, every bit of food that comes in the back door that is grown on-site is worth the effort in the beginning.
What conditions does ginger prefer
Our best ginger growing results come from carbon-rich, biologically active soil that is well-mulched and kept moist but not wet. Ginger prefers well-draining soil that is very similar to turmeric’s preference.
We have a lot of ginger throughout our yard; some of it has been in the ground for 3-4 seasons. You may not have any ginger yet but growing some from a rhizome chunk can get you on the right path. “How big of a root do you need to grow ginger?” goes into detail.
One patch, in particular, has been completely ignored and neglected, and it still happily grows. The gingers’ root size (rhizome) in this area is somewhat smaller and tougher than the ginger grown in prime growing conditions.
We take from this patch when we plant another area after working it. It is better as a crop to re-plant rather than take it to the kitchen.
We have found that ginger and turmeric grow well under the drip lines of the larger trees in the yard. They are two mango trees. We know that tree-leaves hold nutrients on the surface, and that rain washes these to the ground. The better growth of ginger and turmeric in this zone supports this thought.
Another benefit of this location is it allows for both sun and shade during the day, and the leaf litter from the mango trees helps keep the mulch topped up as it decays over time.
Do ginger and turmeric need the same fertilizer
Both ginger and turmeric have very similar nutrient needs, so the same fertilizer can be used.
We don’t use store-bought fertilizers at all. We create our version of this on-site with the help of our chickens. We also make our own compost, as discussed here.
We also give our chickens a mineral supplement with their feed, so the chicken manure is of very high quality. It is rich in plant-available minerals and trace elements.
We have a specific post written on this here. It is titled “Improve your garden soil with rock dust and chickens.” We swear by this technique and use it every day, every year.
It has been the defining thing that has allowed us to move quickly towards self-sufficiency in fruit and veg.
So, the short version of everything so far is that growing ginger can be enhanced using mulch loaded with nutrients.
Can turmeric and ginger be harvested at the same time
Ginger and turmeric have similar growing attributes and seasons. This means they can be harvested at the same time.
This is handy for a small yard where every square inch of ground matters. It would be difficult to try and harvest a root crop growing around other plants, particularly when these other plants are just not ready for harvest.
No gardener likes to unnecessarily disturb a happy plant that is doing fine.
Ginger and turmeric both show when they are ready for lifting as the above-ground vegetation dies off; it just so happens that this occurs for both at roughly the same time of year.
Are there Benefits to growing ginger and turmeric together.
Yes, there are worthwhile benefits growing both turmeric and ginger together, with the primary benefit being for the small yard gardener who has limited space.
The plants can be planted together at the same time and harvested together at the same time.
The productivity of your yard will increase by growing these two plants together. The main thing to remember is that both plants enjoy partial to full shade.
These two plants are just a sample of the edible varieties of ginger that you might consider growing. We have an article that dives deeply into the edible varieties. It is titled “21 edible gingers, many are ornamentals that you may have“.
Can a pot be used to grow ginger and turmeric together?
A pot can be used to grow them together, but keep in mind the size of the pot will need to be large to give each both plants a chance to develop a healthy quantity of new rhizomes.
If you decide to grow them in a pot that is a bit large, then think about where you might put it so the plants benefit from that location for the growing season. It could be too late to move it once the soil is in and the pot is heavy.
We grow them all in the ground here, but we also live in the wet tropics of north-eastern Australia, where these two plants are most at home.
Even so, we see no reason any grower cannot try these two together and do so with some reasonable expectations.
One of the primary things you can do to help the plants grow a decent amount of rhizomes in the same pot is to have great soil.
The conclusion we have come to here where we live is that ginger and turmeric are great companions. It should be no surprise, as they are from the same plant family.
We have not tried growing galangal with these two, so we might give that a go next time we dig up a bit. We have a couple of clumps scattered around the place that are out of sight and out of mind, and the one issue with that test will be galangal is a lot taller than the two mentioned above.
Article by Tim Blanch for TheTropicalHomestead.com. He is a qualified Permaculture designer.