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Turmeric

Grow yer own!

Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:31 am
Fey

Posts: 179
I'm putting this in here continuing on from the discussion in the case study thread.

SageWoman said:
Our mountain valley is surrounded by an igneous laccolith upthrust with peaks over 10,000 feet, so even though on a map it looks like we are in the high desert of southern Utah, our weather patterns are affected by the high elevation of 6800 ft. and the sun being occluded by the peaks so it sets earlier in the afternoon. Short days and cool temperatures! We get down to 20 or 30 degrees (f) below zero and have snow all winter, but in the summer it can be in the 90's. Our indigenous plants are Pine, Fir, Juniper, Big Sage, Aspen, Cottonwood, Willow and so on. I can wildcraft Mullein, Yarrow, Grindelia, Juniper berries, and Elder.

As far as what I can grow, the plants have to be hardy because our growing season is short. We usually plant after the first week of June and sometimes get our first killing frost in August. Comfrey grows very well. In my garden I also have a huge raspberry patch for fruit and for the leaves. Other things I have grown include Tansy, Avens, Oregano, Thyme, St. John's Wort, Garden Sage, White Wooly Horehound, Cayenne Pepper, Feverfew, Honeyberry, Mallow and Hollyhock, California Poppy, Hops, Narrow Leaf Plantain, Catnip, Peppermint, Spearmint, Garlic, Onion, Chives, Horseradish, Red Clover, Curly Dock, Jerusalem Artichoke, Hopi Sunflower and Oregon Grape Root. These all do well, with some self seeding and coming up on their own, and others needing a little more help.

Other plants such as Brigham Tea and Buffalo Gourd I have tried to grow and they just don't thrive (even though they grow all over in our area up to about 5500 feet.) We also do well with Gooseberries, Mountain Currents, Chokecherries and apple trees of the hardy varieties.

We have considered getting a greenhouse, but it would have to be heated in the winter, the snow brushed off the top and the snow shoveled just to get out to the door. I haven't been able to convince my husband that it is worth it yet! In the meantime I am focusing on learning the uses for plants that actually grow here and buying my tumeric and ginger.

I'd love to hear how others of you manage to grow a variety of herbs with a short growing season. Fey, it sounds like you have an ideal situation. And goats too!


Oooh, my eyes widened when I saw Honeyberry. Is that the fruiting honeysuckle that they grow in Canada and Russia? There's none here in Australia and I think I'd be pushing my luck to get that to grow. I tried them from seeds but wasn't successful.
I'm a bit surprised that Comfrey grows in those conditions. Mine comes up half way through spring, so much later than some other plants. Then it dies back at the end of April with the first chill in the air. But that's still seven months of growing. And I didn't know delicate-looking St John's Wort could survive snow. It must be a much hardier cousin to mine. You've made me look at some of my plants with a new respect.

Even Jerusalem artichoke is a surprise. Would some of the other Andean tubers, eg. maca, oca, grow in your area?

Your place sounds like a paradise. I can't imagine why people want to live at the ocean when the mountains are so beautiful with all the seasonal changing energies. It would be extra spectacular in winter.

It's possible that your plants would be more medicinal than the ones I grow. Mine have got an easy ride compared to yours. Your plants' survival under extreme conditions would have to reflect in their medicinal qualities.

I'm just thinking of a few "cold" herbs that might grow where you are.
Siberian Ginseng, maralroot, partridge berry, eyebright, edelweiss, hawthorn, linden, coptis, goji, corydalis, trillium, reishi mushroom. I can't even imagine the cold of your winters, so I could be barking up the wrong tree.

Oh, I forgot the Turmeric!
The first year that I grew it, the stems were a little weak; even watering gently with a hose would break them. As the plants matured into two year olds, they sprang up in spring a lot tougher and started spreading out. I harvested a few and gave many away, and still have about double what I started with last year. I didn't have to dig them up in winter and they don't seem to mind a bit of rain when they're dormant.
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Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:05 pm

Posts: 72
Oooh, my eyes widened when I saw Honeyberry. Is that the fruiting honeysuckle that they grow in Canada and Russia? There's none here in Australia and I think I'd be pushing my luck to get that to grow. I tried them from seeds but wasn't successful. Yes, we ordered these about 8 years ago when they were in the news. They are still pretty scrubby, ranging from knee high to a little bigger. Last year we finally got a little fruit, but it is a lot of work to even pick a mouthful and the critters are so hungry for fruit as the snow is melting, that they usually beat us to it. The berries are small and blue and sour and high in antioxidents like blueberries. I keep telling my honeyberries that they better produce or they will be yanked out and planted where the deer can nibble on them. GASP! They are the first fruit to mature, though and it is nice to get a harvest at the end of May.

I'm a bit surprised that Comfrey grows in those conditions. Mine comes up half way through spring, so much later than some other plants. Then it dies back at the end of April with the first chill in the air. But that's still seven months of growing. And I didn't know delicate-looking St John's Wort could survive snow. It must be a much hardier cousin to mine. You've made me look at some of my plants with a new respect. We cut our comfrey for compost 3 times during the growing season. The roots are so deep it seems to do fine with the cold winters, and it starts peeking out even before the snow melts in the spring. I could probably go out now and brush away the snow and see little 3 inch leaves just waiting to pop up! St John's Wort also dies back and we trim off the dead stems. I really have to watch it or the flowering tops go brown and it is too late for me to harvest right when I'm mostly tending to my vegetables at the height of the summer.

Even Jerusalem artichoke is a surprise. Would some of the other Andean tubers, eg. maca, oca, grow in your area? I haven't tried any of these others. Jerusalem Artichoke is indigenous to North America and grows all along the highways in our area, so it was a natural to plant in our yard. It's a real survival food in hard times!

Your place sounds like a paradise. I can't imagine why people want to live at the ocean when the mountains are so beautiful with all the seasonal changing energies. It would be extra spectacular in winter. It is funny you would say that as I was born at sea level in San Diego, California and being a mountain woman has been a learning process. It is beautiful, and the air is bracing and clean. All of the 120 people who live here think we have gone to heaven!

It's possible that your plants would be more medicinal than the ones I grow. Mine have got an easy ride compared to yours. Your plants' survival under extreme conditions would have to reflect in their medicinal qualities.

I'm just thinking of a few "cold" herbs that might grow where you are.
Siberian Ginseng, maralroot, partridge berry, eyebright, edelweiss, hawthorn, linden, coptis, goji, corydalis, trillium, reishi mushroom. I can't even imagine the cold of your winters, so I could be barking up the wrong tree. You've given me something to think about, especially the adaptogens. They are few and far between here. Thanks for the suggestions!


Oh, I forgot the Turmeric!
The first year that I grew it, the stems were a little weak; even watering gently with a hose would break them. As the plants matured into two year olds, they sprang up in spring a lot tougher and started spreading out. I harvested a few and gave many away, and still have about double what I started with last year. I didn't have to dig them up in winter and they don't seem to mind a bit of rain when they're dormant. They are certainly beautiful and lush. Do you ever dry the roots, or just use them fresh as you need them?

Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:22 pm
Fey

Posts: 179
That must be so disappointing with the honeyberries. The ones I've seen advertised in the U.S. Nurseries look like they're quite large and juicy. With a name like "honeyberry" you'd think they'd be sweet. I wonder if dolomite would sweeten them? I put it around our passionfruit if they produce bitter fruit. I can't recall whether honeyberries like acid or alkaline soil though and that would have to be considered. You're a meany....threatening poor little honeyberries like that. The critters might make a good stew though. :big grin:

I was thinking about how your comfrey grows there. Mine waits until mid Spring before poking its nose out of the ground. It always seemed very cold-shy to me. I'll have to look at the plant differently; what I thought was cold-shy was just a needed specific period of rest, no matter what the temperature is.

I thought of Gingko too for your area. What do you think? Some of the Chinese herbs and the Russian and Tibetan herbs might grow where you are. I try to grow as many herbs that are willing to set roots down here. I've found amazing non-addictive painkillers and anti inflammatories that are on par with diclofenac. The more herbs we can grow, the more effective healers we can be.

Doc Jones is spot on though when he says, "grow your own". What's the good of being a herbalist without the herbs? That would be as useless as a doctor without a prescription pad. :Laugh:

I've always used my Turmeric fresh, but I usually leave it alone when it's in its growing stage. I'd like to find a way to preserve it with its enzymes intact. One day I'll experiment with honey. I've got a food dryer that I do fruits in, but I really do prefer Turmeric fresh...and ginger too. I've grown both of these in large pots, and they'd make great house plants too, with good light and a little sun.
I'm looking forward to them flowering this year....now that's something to see.

Post Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:28 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1070
I've ben trying to get hold of some turmeric to try in my garden. It won't over winter I don't think. But I suspect you could treat it as a dahlia and dig it up and throw it in the cellar for the winter and re-plant in the spring.

Fey, how cold does it get in your neck of the woods?

Doc

Post Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:33 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1070
Fey wrote:
drericfjones wrote:
What about turmeric to add as a support for strengthening the liver? :yahoo:


I love Turmeric; it's an awesome herb. Mine has really taken off in the garden this year and I'm waiting for it to flower before I take a photo of it. It's supposed to be one of the stronger anti inflammatories so it could really have helped the puppy's pain.

I wonder if it was given to people and dogs regularly, would a wound be less likely to become infected? Doc?

IMO it's one of those "super herbs" that people should take every day.

Here's a really good way for people to have it easily without having to cook up an Indian meal;

I dig up a bit of ginger and Turmeric rhizomes, cut off half an inch of each and put it in a blender with a peeled lemon and honey. Make it up to 600mls (20 fl oz??) with water and drink it.
About two hours later you'll notice that any lower back pain has sneakily gone.
I've only tried this with fresh rhizomes.
If you make up a few litres and put in the fridge, the colour intensifies over a few days.


I agree. Turmeric is great stuff. I think regular consumption wards off a host of ills. I use it dogs all the time for it's anti-inflammatory properties especially with Boswellia with which it is synergistic. I am determined to figure out how to grwo the stuff here in Idaho. Trying to find some good root stock.

Doc

Post Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:29 pm
Fey

Posts: 179
It gets down to minus 6 C which is about 20F I think. I reckon it should store the same way as the dahlia tubers. Dahlia tubers don't like getting wet when they're dormant, but I keep the ground slightly moist when the Turmeric is dormant. We also had two very wet winters and the Turmeric didn't rot.
You might have to experiment (the same with ginger) and store some dry and some in just slightly moistened, loose sawdust....and see which one is best. Mine is late to wake up in the spring (second month) and ginger is another month later still.
Maybe if you grew it in tub-sized pots and brought the pots inside? The Rhizomes of both Turmeric and Ginger grow very close to the surface. Before the violets came up as a living mulch, I would put straw over them. When I first planted them, I placed the rhizomes only about an inch under the soil and put a few inches of straw over the top.

Post Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:33 pm
Fey

Posts: 179
If I thought I'd get away with it, I'd send you some of mine.
I didn't know there were a few different types until I saw an article in a homesteading site showing how they dry their Turmeric. Their rhizomes were a yucky pale colour.

There's a guy in Hawaii selling rhizomes on eBay.
And here,
http://kauaiorganicfarms.com/organic-hawaii-turmeric/ their picture of turmeric looked like terribly small rhizomes!
And here,
http://massspectrumbotanicals.com/shop/curcuma-longa/

That's weird, I can't find many places in the U.S. that sell it. I've even bought rhizomes from the local organic shop and grown those. Even the ones from the big chain stores have sprouted.

Problem is, I don't know if your stores treat their rhizomes to stop sprouting. (My brother in law did a work experience on a potato farm in the U.S. and he said the potatoes were sprayed with something to stop them sprouting. That's not done here)

Post Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:55 pm
IdahoHerbalist Site Admin

Posts: 1119
Companion Plants has turmeric. I ordered ONE plant. It is in my ham radio room on a window sill. Need to get its pot up sized.

http://companionplants.com/catalog/adva ... ic&x=0&y=0


http://companionplants.com/catalog/prod ... cts_id=125
Curcuma domestica
[TURMERIC (ORANGE)]

$7.00
Curcuma domestica
Click to enlarge
Category: Potted Plants
Longevity: TP
Lighting Conditions: PS
Average Height: to 5 feet
Uses: A C D M O

The powdered tuberous root imparts a rich orange color to foods and cloth and its distinctive flavor is recognizable in many Asian and Indian dishes and curries. With a long history of use in Asian medicine, recent research confirms its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticoagulant properties. Ingredient in many anti-burn and skin creams. It also increases bile production, protects the liver, lowers cholesterol, and is a stronger anti-oxidant than vitamin E. Long broad leaves give a striking tropical effect. Related to Ginger, it prefers heat, moisture, and well-drained rich soil. Lift fresh roots as needed for use when they go dormant for the winter. Leave remainder in pots and water only occasionally. To propagate, divide the root in early spring before new growth starts.

Post Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:09 am
IdahoHerbalist Site Admin

Posts: 1119
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1447

turmeric

Days to germination: Started by root cuttings, not seeds
Days to harvest: 250 days or more (8 to 10 months)
Light requirements: Full sun, or slight shade
Water requirements: Regular watering
Soil: Well-drained soil
Container: Necessary for most climates

Introduction

Turmeric is likely best known as a pungent and bright yellow spice in Indian cuisine. It’s a tropical plant, and can only be grown outdoors if you live in zones 9 or warmer. Your plants won’t be able to tolerate any climate colder than 65F.

Turmeric is different from most herbs in that you are not going to be harvesting the leaves, but the roots instead. The plant grows an underground tuber, or rhizome much like ginger does. It can take up to 10 months for a new crop of roots to develop, and it’s not a plant that you can harvest in small pieces through the season.

It’s closely related to ginger, and has a similar strong taste that is a little hard to describe. Turmeric is the main ingredient in most Indian curry powders. It sometimes goes by the name of Indian saffron but is not related to saffron at all.

Aside from its power as a seasoning, there is growing evidence of the health benefits from this herb. It’s high in anti-oxidants and may have anti-inflammatory or even anti-caner properties.

Starting from Seed

You won’t be planting seeds to start your turmeric plants, but using roots instead. It’s not just a matter of convenience, the plant doesn’t produce seeds for propagation.

If you have a market nearby where you can buy fresh turmeric roots, you may be able to use those to sprout a plant. Otherwise, you will have to find a local nursery or online store that carries them. Turmeric isn’t the most common of household plants so it may take some looking. If you have access to a supermarket that carries it, purchase 2 or 3 because they probably won’t all sprout.

Once you have a fresh rhizome or root, all you need to do is plant it. A large root will have several branches or fingers to it. You can cut these apart and start more than one plant if you wish. The easiest way to get it to sprout is to just bury the root under 2 inches of loose potting soil. If there are any knobs or buds on the root, turn it so they are facing upwards.

Keep it damp but not sopping wet or the root may rot. In a month or so, you should see sprouts come up.

If you are going to grow turmeric outside, you can transplant it out in the late fall. For indoor plants, you can do this anytime.

Transplanting

Though you could always just plant your pieces of root directly outside, it’s usually safer to keep them indoors until they have started to sprout.

If you are growing more than one, plant each seedling about 12 to 16 inches apart. A sunny location is best but a little bit of afternoon shade shouldn’t hurt either.

Growing Instructions

Once your plants are established and growing well, they will need very little care from you. During winter months, turmeric needs less water but once the growing season starts you will want to water fairly frequently to keep the soil moist.

Bi-monthly or even weekly feedings with a liquid fertilizer is ideal.

If you see your plant going to flower, there is nothing to worry about. It won’t have any effect on your later root harvest, and the flowers don’t actually produce any seeds.

Containers

The majority of people who are going to grow turmeric will have to do so indoors, and it does grow fine in pots.

It will likely grow too large for a windowsill but can thrive in a sunny room. Choose a container that is at least 12 inches across and the same in depth to give your plants room to grow.

Water potted turmeric regularly to keep the soil damp, and weekly feedings with mild or diluted fertilizer are very beneficial.

Pests and Diseases

Turmeric is a plant that is seldom bothered by insects or disease. Your plant may develop leaf blotch or leaf spot, which is a fungus infection that will start out as brown patches on the leaves. The leaves will eventually turn yellow and drop off. Bordeaux fungicide can help control it if you catch it soon enough.

If you are growing turmeric outside of Asia, there are not many insects interested in the plant. Aphids and mites sometimes cluster on the leaves, but they can easily be washed off with a spritz of water or a spray of insecticidal soap.

Harvest and Storage

As mentioned, you don’t usually harvest turmeric through the season like you do with leafy herbs. You will have to take care of your plant for 8 to 10 months before harvest time. Eventually, the plant will start to turn yellow and the leaves will start to dry out. That’s when your turmeric is ready to dig up.

Just dig up the plant and cut the rhizomes away from the stems. Wash off the dirt and it’s ready to use. For more turmeric, take one or two pieces of root and start another plant. If you are careful, it is possible to harvest a few root pieces without having to dig up the entire plant.

To use, you will have to peel the root first. Wear gloves, or you will have yellow-stained fingers for quite a few days.

For storage, just keep the unpeeled roots in an air-tight container. Keep it in a cool dark place and your roots should still be in great shape for up to 6 months. It’s not practical for home growers to try drying turmeric in order to make a ground powder. The roots are just used sliced or minced instead.

If you are used to cooking with dry and ground turmeric from the store, take care when using fresh. It’s much stronger in taste and you will only need a small amount to really add its peppery zest to a meal.

Post Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:53 am
Doc Jones User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1070
IdahoHerbalist wrote:
Companion Plants has turmeric. I ordered ONE plant. It is in my ham radio room on a window sill. Need to get its pot up sized.

http://companionplants.com/catalog/adva ... ic&x=0&y=0


http://companionplants.com/catalog/prod ... cts_id=125
Curcuma domestica
[TURMERIC (ORANGE)]

$7.00
Curcuma domestica


Yeah, I think historicaly they've had a couple of different varieties.

Doc

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