Turmeric is a root crop in the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae) that has many applications in cosmetics, cooking, and medical purposes. Turmeric is identifiable by its bright orange root and tropical canna lily-esc leaves. Native to Southeast Asia, turmeric grows best in warmer climates with higher humidity.

Growing Turmeric in your Garden

If you live in a warmer climate, turmeric can be a great addition to your home garden or farm. Here at the Jewel of Encanto Farm, we grow turmeric in several places around the property and it has thrived this summer despite the record-breaking heat. If you live in a plant hardiness zone above eight, turmeric will do well as long as it is planted in well-draining soil, given ample water, and plenty of sunlight. If you live in a plant hardiness zone below eight, your turmeric can thrive as long as you protect it from the colder weather. Oftentimes, farmers will grow turmeric in greenhouses or hoop houses to be able to better protect this plant. Planting your turmeric in large pots is also a viable solution; you can keep the plant inside during the cooler months and then place it outdoors once the weather is warm enough. If you live in a dry climate you can mimic the humidity that turmeric prefers by misting the leaves of your plants daily.

Turmeric grows for about ten months before it is ready to harvest. Usually, you will want to plant your turmeric so that it is ready before the first anticipated frost of the year. For example, here in Phoenix, the first frost usually isn’t until December meaning that we would plant our turmeric rhizomes in the end of February/ beginning of March. The root is ready to harvest when the stem and leaves of the turmeric plant turn dry and brown. Once you have decided to harvest, use your hand to delicately loosen the root from underneath while slowly pulling up the stem. The turmeric root is then ready to wash and enjoy!

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is often consumed for its associated health benefits. Largely used for treating cases of inflammation and pain, the compound curcumin in turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent that has made turmeric a health trend and widely used supplement. While other possible health benefits of turmeric are still being explored, it has been known and marketed to help reduce swelling, ease arthritis pain, decrease inflammation, and help mitigate upper respiratory infections. Turmeric is available in capsules, powders, tablets, oils, or can be eaten raw. Turmeric can be cooked with, added to smoothies or tonics, made into an anti-inflammatory face mask, or taken as a supplement.

Turmeric is a great crop for both gardeners and farmers alike. It can easily be grown in a pot, raised bed, or in the ground. The beautiful tropical leaves and white flowers it produces make it a lovely addition to the garden and under the surface of the soil, a nutritionally packed turmeric root is being produced.

We will be harvesting our turmeric soon! Keep an eye out for turmeric harvest updates and what we end up doing with the turmeric root!