If you want to produce your condiments at home, knowing how to harvest turmeric will be of great help since turmeric powder is one of the most commonly and widely used spices.
In this article, we will tell you all about how to harvest turmeric at home with proper care and effort. The best time to harvest turmeric is during early spring right after the last winter frost has passed.
Turmeric grows from the turmeric rhizome; which is an immature length of the turmeric root. Since turmeric takes a long time to sprout, harvesting it is a time-consuming method but is definitely worth the effort as you will be able to enjoy the use of turmeric as a condiment yearlong.
Turmeric can be planted both indoors and outdoors. If properly taken care of, it can be grown outside in the garden directly or in a pot at home.
How to Harvest Turmeric
If you want to know how to harvest turmeric, follow the steps given below sequentially and carefully to have the best yield of turmeric at your home easily.
Step 1: Purchasing Turmeric Rhizomes
Since turmeric grows from turmeric rhizomes, your first step is to buy several healthy turmeric rhizomes.
These can be found in any local market or nursery and look a lot like ginger roots.
To make sure you are buying the right kind of rhizomes for a good harvest of turmeric, look out for the ones that have more buds coming out of the rounded portion of the roots.
Step 2: Buying the Right Pot or Container
If you are planning on planting your rhizomes indoors, your next step will be to choose a suitable pot for planting your turmeric rhizomes.
The ideal dimensions of a pit for planting turmeric rhizomes are 12 x 18 inches.
Since turmeric can grow up to 3 feet tall, you need to make sure you buy pots that will allow sufficient room for the plant’s growth.
You can choose a pot made of ceramic, plastic, or other material with a good drainage system.
If you are planting them in your garden, you can use a planter’s box with a depth of at least 1 to 2 feet to ensure enough space underneath the soil for the rhizomes to grow.
Step 3: Preparing the Rhizomes
If your purchased rhizomes still have their stems attached (a bulky chunk-like structure with occasional branching), cut them off using a knife.
If your planter or pot is small, you can cut up the rhizomes into smaller sections.
Make sure you cut your rhizomes into smaller pieces leaving at least 2 to 3 buds in each section.
Step 4: Preparing the Soil
- Turmeric grows well in slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soil.
- So choose fertile soil with a pH balance of around 6 to 8.
- Pour the soil into your pot until the bottom third of the pot is filled.
- Even the soil is out.
Step 5: Planting the Rhizomes
- Take the rhizomes and place one at the center of each pot.
- Make sure the majority of the buds are facing upwards towards the opening of the pots.
- Setting the direction is important as the stalks of the turmeric plant will grow from the buds.
- Unless the buds are facing up, a stalk growing downward or sideways inside the pot will most likely die due to lack of sunlight.
- Pour the remaining soil over the rhizomes till the pots are almost full.
- Leave a little room at the top of each pot empty.
- Water the pots until the soil is saturated in each pot.
Step 6: Setting up the Environment
- Use a planter bag or plastic bag to cover your planters and pots.
- Keep each pot in an individual bag and fold the bag over at the top so that the opening is slightly restricted for each pot but still enough for ventilation.
- Store the pots in a temperate place.
- If you are planting your rhizomes in your garden, plant them in a greenhouse or set up a small one if you do not have any.
- A humid environment (typically between 21 to 35°C) is crucial for the proper sprouting of turmeric plants.
- If you do not have a warm place, use heating pads or a desk lamp to artificially keep the pots warm.
Step 7: Watering
- Water your rhizomes regularly at an interval of 2 to 3 days.
- Do not overwater.
- Just make sure the soil stays moist at all times; especially if you live in a hot area.
Step 8: Transferring the Plant Outdoors (not necessary for garden turmeric)
- After continuously watering your turmeric plants for 6 to 10 months in a warm climate, sprouts will begin to appear.
- And once you see the stalk starting to stick out of your pot or planter, it means that your plants are maturing.
- After the stalks grow 4 to 8 inches in length, you will need to transfer your plants to a bigger pot or a section of your garden.
- Use the same soil as before and transfer it halfway to the new pot.
- Dig your hands in the remaining soil and lift the whole plant along with the rhizome.
- Set it carefully in the new pot and cover it with the remaining soil.
- If you are using a planter’s box, keep at least 1.5 feet hap between each plant.
Step 9: Watering and Nurturing
- After transferring the plants, take the pots outside and put them in a partially shady place.
- Keep watering the plants regularly as before and keep an eye out for damaged or discoloring leaves.
- If you see any, use organic pesticides or non-toxic soil treatment to mitigate the damage.
Step 10: Harvesting Turmeric
- By the next 2 to 3 months, your turmeric plants will mature completely and begin to dry out.
- This is the ideal time to harvest your turmeric.
- If you let the plants grow further, it will increase the risk of rot.
- To harvest the turmeric, use a cutting knife or garden shears to remove the stalks close to the soil.
- Discard the leaves by composting them and when the plant is dry enough, snap the stalk near the bottom and extract the rhizomes.
Storing Harvested Turmeric
Wash the extracted rhizomes under running warm water while gently rubbing them softly to remove the dirt and soil. After they are dried, put them in an airtight plastic bag or container and store them in the refrigerator. You can easily store turmeric for up to 6 months without altering its flavor or effectiveness.
- To prepare turmeric powder, boil the rhizomes in water for an hour.
- Strain the rhizomes and peel off their skin. You can also keep it if desired.
- Let the rhizomes dry out overnight.
- Cut them into smaller pieces and grind them using a grinder or mortar till the fine powder is produced.
Read More: When to Harvest Horseradish: Horseradish Growing Guide
Turmeric is a great plant that has several medicinal and nutritional benefits. Harvesting your turmeric plants has, therefore, the advantage of enjoying homemade turmeric powder while being able to store and use it whenever you want. We hope our article will be helpful if you are planning to harvest your turmeric at home.