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!


  1. Oh.. interesting! That's a lot of tumeric.. to make lots of peranakan dishes! Heheh

  2. I am thinking of all the delicious dishes! Kuah lada, asam pedas, fried chicken, sambal satay....!
    Already cooked kuah lada! Yum!

  3. Those are very nice tumeric harvest! They are so easily grown in the tropics.

  4. I have never grown my own turmeric. Looking at your harvest, it's inspiring! I am thinking of growing some ginger too. Got lotsa soil from Sg. Buluh and I have not done anything with those soil. Time to go back to my gardening hobby! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Speaking of ginger, I panted them too a year ago and have recently harvested half portion. Ginger and tumeric are maintenance free but take a long time to grow. But well worth the effort. Happy growing!

  6. where can I get the rhizomes of turmeric in florida?

    1. hi lydalu, unfortunately i've not visited florida (although i wish i will be one day soon) so i don't know where exactly you can get a turmeric rhizome. however, i'm guessing that it is probably available in an asian or indian grocery store perhaps.