Turmeric (Curcuma domestica syn Curcuma longa) is a perennial plant of the ginger family that grows a height of at least 1 meter tall. It is a native of south-east Asia and is used for its underground rhizomes, a famous ingredient as curry powder for food coloring especially the famous chicken curry, Campbell’s chicken soup, mustard, and other curry sauces in first class restaurants. It is also used as a natural dye for some fabrics and other items.
It has also a medicinal properties as natural pain killer and said to aid in curing cancer.
It is the main ingredient for almost Indian curry powders and sometimes goes by the name of Indian saffron but is not related to saffron at all.
Soil. A well-drained soil with rich organic materials is an ideal soil for planting turmeric.
Light. The area should be exposed to full sunlight at least 5 – 7 hours a day. If the place is shady, find a slight shade with sunlight exposure during the day.
Water. Tumeric tolerates well with a regular water supply during its entire growing period. Don’t over water, since the roots will rot with too much water supply.
Plant nutrition. The soil should be rich with organic materials with additional fertilizer if the plant shows slower growth during the reproductive phase
Planting. Select a fresh and plump rhizomes with 2 – 3 buds per seed piece, and lay them in the germinating tray until the shoots emerges after 3 weeks. After exposing your seedlings to gradual sunlight, transplant each seedling in your prepared plots distanced at 12 – 16 apart between row. If planted in containers, set one seedling in every pot container.
Pest and disease control. Red spider mite and aphids are the only insect pests that attacks turmeric. To control them, just mist the leaves with an insecticidal soap to wash them away. Some common disease is the leaf spot, a fungus infection. Use Bordeaux fungicide to control this disease.
Harvesting. Harvest the rhizomes after 250 days after or 9 – 10 months after planting when the leaves turns yellow and the stems are drying up. Dig carefully at the plant base and harvest the rhizomes. If you’re harvesting them for home use, just simply remove a portion of the clump and remain the rest for future use.