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Turmeric is the main spice in yellow curry, giving it its warm flavor and golden coloring. Ongoing research suggests that turmeric may have extensive health benefits as well. Grown for its root, it’s much like ginger. And here’s the cool thing about it: growing turmeric is easy.
Of course, I live in a tropical region which means I can grow this healthy tuber outside, but even those of you who live in cooler climes can grow it in pots.
Where to find roots to grow
Admittedly, finding the roots might be harder than actually growing it. Fresh turmeric — here it’s called ‘olena — is pretty readily available at our farmers markets. If you live in a cooler region, you might have better luck checking Asian supermarkets. It’s also available to order online.
To plant outdoors: Work the ground well and incorporate some compost into your planting area. Separate rhizomes into fingers that each have at least two buds. Plant, buds up, about 2-3″ deep and 12″ apart. Leaves should start to appear in four to six weeks. The plants have lovely wide leaves and can work easily as part of a front yard landscape, so long as they’re placed somewhere that can be dug up once a year or so.
To plant in pots: Use a pot that’s roughly 12″ wide and just as deep. Fill with good quality potting soil, and set rhizome 2-3″ deep. You’ll only plant one finger in each pot. Turmeric likes it warm and will be fine outside during the summer months, so long as you keep the soil damp. It’s freezing weather that’s a problem — you don’t want the roots to freeze. You can start your turmeric plant inside during the early spring, move it outdoors for garden season, then — if it’s not ready to harvest yet, move it inside again when it starts to get cold.
Whether planted in the ground or in a pot, your turmeric plant will appreciate some protection from the hot midday sun.