Saturday, October 29, 2011

Growing Turmeric Rhizomes

Yesterday was a happy day of 'yellow discovery'!

I got the grass cutter man to come over yesterday to clear the messy and uncontrolled weeds that have taken over my whole backyard. The current rainy season has sped up the foliage growth and it was an eye sore. Anyway, I had a new garden idea so I needed to get the mess cleared real quick before my enthusiasm fades away.

After the weeds were cleared, I spotted something bright yellow just slightly above the soil surface. I remembered I had buried 2 small knobs of turmeric rhizomes last year and knew that perhaps they had grown bigger since the turmeric leaves have all wilted off. Armed with a garden scraper I dug out that small patch and I found a turmeric. Then, it seems like there was another one next to it as I cleared off more earth. I continued to dig. And I found not one but another 3 knobs of this yellow treasures! On what seems like an endless joy, I found more and more of these rhizomes! I followed the trail of the roots underneath the soil and found a huge clump of rhizomes a feet away from the first spot. It was such a surprising and truly joyful find indeed!!

I collected almost a colander full of turmeric!!! Woooohhhhooooo!!! I did not expect that they could grow, much less multiply to so many, under the clay-like soil condition. What started as an experiment ended up as a victory yield and I am a very happy home gardener now :D)))

1. Freshly dug out turmeric rhizomes

2. All washed and ready to be sun-dried for a while

3. I collected almost 700 g of turmeric

How to grow turmeric:

Turmeric is actually the rhizome of the turmeric plant, much like ginger. Apparently these two plants belong to the same family.

Start by buying a fresh clump of turmeric from the market and nib off the small rhizomes where a bud or two have started to show. Plant the rhizomes about 2 inches in the soil and about 20 cm apart. Loamy and fertile soil are best for growing turmeric. It also needs full sunlight. Slight shade will not do any harm but it won't thrive under heavy shade. It takes about a year for the rhizomes to multiply underneath the soil.

The plant will grow bearing very fragrant long leaves that are commonly used in Asian cooking. Some plants will bear pretty flowers too. The plant itself is pretty and ornamental.

Turmeric is a key ingredient in curry recipes as well as in many of my Nyonya culture cuisine. It is said to carry a natural antiseptic property beneficial for healing wounds. Looks like I'll be doing quite a bit of spice blending in my kitchen this week. Yippee!!! I'm so happy!

Seriously, growing turmeric is so easy and maintenance-free! Now I can't wait to harvest my ginger which I planted in a container.

Happy gardening!

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Each time I visit some of my favorite garden & veggie patch blogs, I get so envious (in a good way of course :) of the gardening space they have and the variety of plants they could grow which of course leads to bountiful harvest. As much as I would love to have a spacious garden, I can only be satisfied with my plants in my containers and cherish my small harvest from time to time.

For now, one of my containers is growing capsicum. I am happy that it works out so I've sowed some more seeds in 4 other containers. I guess other plants will have to wait for its turn to occupy the pots.

This is my second capsicum and I've eaten it before the ants could damage it, like my first capsicum. I hate those pesky ants! The crawl all over my capsicum and chili plants and they encourage the growth of the white powdery mildew. What I did was to boil a few dried chilies and use the water mixed with a few drops of dishwater liquid and cooking oil, give it a good shake and spray at the ants and powdery mildew on infected plant. This needs to be done every day in the morning or evening until the disease is gone. I tend to forget and the disease multiplied before I could control it. That was what happened to my beautiful marigold plants that I had to sadly pull out last month. If anyone has more lethal solution to get rid of ants and the powdery mildew insect...please please share :D!

I am really getting a hang at growing capsicums now. It was sweet and crunchy but a little thin. I should perhaps use more organic fertiliser to fatten it.

Capsicums are really easy to grow. Just scatter the seeds of a capsicum that you buy from the market and they will sprout in less than a week. It's easy to care too...just water as normal and feed with fertiliser once every 2 weeks.