Growing Tumeric from USDA Certified Organic, Pre-sprouted Seed

Tumeric must be grown in warm soil and warm air! And it takes about 8 months to grow turmeric to harvest. (Earlier harvests will result in rhizomes that are small and not bright orange in color.) So we start the growing process early by pre-sprouting tumeric rhizomes in the greenhouse so they are well on their way when the weather is right.

Tumeric can be grown in your garden but for the longest harvest, we recommend growing tumeric in a container. Tumeric in a Container or Grow Bag: Turmeric rhizomes grow outwards and downwards so your container should be large and/or “flexible” (don't use Grandma's heirloom pottery!). If too many seed pieces are placed in a pot, turmeric could potentially break the pot as the rhizomes grow.

Transplant seed pieces into your pot or grow bag using a soil-less media such as coir or a lightweight potting mix. Use media that is well-drained and not decomposing. Place about 8-10” of media mixed with fertilizer and gypsum into the bottom of the container and place seed pieces onto the media. Cover the seed pieces with one inch of soil media.  If you observe rhizomes peeking above the soil surface, cover those rhizomes with about a half inch of soil media. Over the season you may add a total of approximately 2-4” of soil on rhizomes that poke out of the soil. Frequent rhizome checks are good reminders to feed the turmeric. Don’t forget to feed!

Your tumeric harvest can be extended well past the 8 month mark as long as soil temps are kept above 50-55F. Bring your tumeric inside before the air temperatures dip below 50 - 55 degrees.

Watering Tumeric:  A regular watering schedule is required so your turmeric is consistently and adequately watered. Do not overwater tumeric after transplanting. Overwatering will slow down growth and may delay your crop enough to decrease yields. Overwatering may also leach out nutrients. Water when the soil/media is slightly dry to the touch. If your tumeric is grown in an dry location where relative humidity around the plants is low, mist the leaf canopy, water more often, and increase feedings to compensate for potential nutrient leaching. The same technique applies if soil is sandy.

Fertilizing Tumeric: The fertilizer you choose should be totally decomposed and complete in nutrition. Fertilize 4-5 times during the season depending upon your soil type and how often you water. It is important to fertilize at transplant time and again when you check for rhizomes poking through the soil. Extra fertilizer can be side-dressed on the soil/media around the base of the shoots but should never be put against the plant's stems or leaves.

If you are planting tumeric in a container, fertilizing with fertilizer and gypsum will ensure that your turmeric crop will get adequate nutrients. If the turmeric leaves begin to yellow or look burned at the edges OR if leaves improperly unfurl, these are symptoms of insufficient nutrients due to overwatering and/or underfeeding. Make sure you are not overwatering or under watering  and add an extra fertilizer feeding into your schedule.

Harvesting your tumeric crop:  Harvest can begin about 7 months after you plant your pre-sprouted tumeric. Dig up a leaf shoot and its attached rhizomes to see how far along the turmeric crop is. (The photo above is 4-5 months old). The rhizomes should be a deep orange color with light colored growing tips.

Seed Source: East Branch Ginger/Puna Organics, Big Island, Hawaii, pre-sprouted at Windcrest Farm, Monroe, NC. Photo courtesy of East Branch Ginger.

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