It is a common question when growing turmeric, and likewise ginger. How long will it take to grow roots that can be picked? The answer is that it takes up to 10 months to get the best harvest from your plants, but this is not the only answer for the self-sufficient home gardener.
Sometimes you need a few turmeric roots for a particular recipe, and it is possible to go to your garden and harvest some early roots for that event. How long does it take to grow roots big enough to harvest?
It can be 6 months before the rhizomes are of a size that is worth digging up.
If you do take from the garden like this, the roots can be removed from the plant, and the plant can be replanted and watered back in as it will continue to grow more roots and rhizomes. It will likely be the following year before you can take from that plant again.
These will be good for the following years planting, and we leave these in the ground and don’t bother lifting them at the season’s end. To get the most from your efforts, it is worth knowing when turmeric should be harvested?” to get the most from your efforts.
Is turmeric a fast grower?
Turmeric is fast out of the ground and is a faster grower than ginger. Our observations in our garden are when we start getting the first rains of our wet season the turmeric is the first of the ginger family to shoot.
It can even have a 2 ft head start on the common gingers. We see this in action about late October in the Southern hemisphere, and it is always the way.
Turmeric will take about ten months to grow to maturity before dying back, and the results of this are a mess of dead leaves after they have died back, leaving lumps of roots to be harvested. They become very untidy, but in reality, the tops of the plant are just creating a layer of mulch for the dry season ahead.
Can turmeric be grown indoors?
Yes, it can be grown inside your home, but it will need filtered sunlight to maintain good growth. It can be a bit large for an indoor plant, so it might be best to have it at ground level in a large pot.
Also, be aware that the leaves will die off at the season’s end and create a mess, which is when you harvest your roots.
If you are looking at an indoor plant from the ginger family without the rhizomes to eat, then ornamental ginger might suit better as an evergreen plant that flowers.
Just select the plant carefully because some are huge. We have an article titled “6 gingers to suit a balcony herb garden” that might help you with your choice.
What size pot should be used to grow turmeric indoors?
The pot should be at least 12 inches(300mm) in diameter and at least 18minches deep(450mm). This is a pot large enough for a single turmeric plant. It is only suitable for a single plant because of the turmeric’s height and spread as it grows.
Turmeric is a much more solid-looking plant than its close family member, the common ginger, where 3-4 gingers can be grown in the same size pot. The harvest is not equal to the four gingers, but turmeric has a great-looking flower that can leave the ginger flower way behind.
How much sun will an indoor turmeric need?
A turmeric plant growing indoors will need a few hours of filtered sunlight each day. The plant is a natural understory plant, so having it indoors is ok. It can be good for the plant to place it outdoors when it is raining to give it some rain-based nutrients.
Be aware that ants can move into the pot while it is outside, which is not something you need when you bring it back inside.
How much water does turmeric need?
Turmeric is a tropical plant that is used to plenty of rainfall. You cannot give your turmeric too much water as long as the soil it grows in is free draining. It needs to retain some moisture for the plant to take up, but the soil should never become waterlogged.
This will rot the roots and kill the plant. To maintain a good moisture level, water the plant when the soil surface dries out, but don’t let the plant sit in this dried-out state for long as it will stress. Your turmeric harvest will be far less if you let the plant dry out.
Will turmeric need composting?
You will benefit from applying good compost to the plant. The plant will deliver rhizomes in most situations, but we recommend compost to take the harvest to the next level. We try to use compost wherever we can, and compost for self-sufficient gardening gives more detail on how we approach it.
Growing turmeric is worth every bit of effort because of the culinary uses and the health benefits. It can give an excellent yield when the conditions are right, and if you keep some roots over for the following year’s planting, it can be with you for a very long time.
Article by Tim Blanch for TheTropicalHomestead.com. He is a qualified Permaculture designer.