About 12 months ago I was given a small pot with a sickly-looking yellow leaf in it and asked if I could “make it well again”. The label said ‘turmeric’ and I’d always wanted to have a go at growing it, but had never been able to buy rhizomes locally. Green Harvest in Queensland does sell them but I hadn’t ordered any to try because I figured it probably wouldn’t be that easy to grow down south and didn’t want to waste the money.
But here was an opportunity to have a go and the donor had said she didn’t really want it back again.
So I potted it into a slightly larger pot and consulted Mr Google. As I thought, it seemed as though the plant wasn’t dying, but just entering winter dormancy. I left it in the polyhouse, just keeping it moist, and sure enough, in spring a little green shoot appeared. I fed it with Dynamic Lifter, watered it regularly and eventually potted it into a larger pot. This is how it looked at the end of summer :
As the weather cooled, the leaves started to yellow. I cut back on watering :
More and more :
Finally, the moment of truth had come. Time to tip it out of the pot and see if there were any rhizomes.
The clump split easily into two. I’ve replanted the group of larger rhizomes on the left and separated the smaller ones on the right. I was surprised to see the little tubers growing at the end of the thick roots, just like they do for potatoes. I had thought that the main rhizome multiplied by just elongating and branching, so I’ve stored these little tubers in moist cocopeat until I can get around to planting them individually into smaller pots. I hope they will form the basis of new plants, but will probably take some time to grow big enough to harvest.
The tubers I took inside to use were only small….. a couple the size of my little finger. I didn’t even bother to take a photo. I decided to try drying them, so chopped them in the Thermomix and put them in the dryer. They were yellow when I put them in but they’ve gone brown :
Maybe that’s an enzymatic reaction, same as when chopped apples and potatoes go brown. I hope it hasn’t altered the nutritional qualities. Looks like I can add another foodstuff to my self-sufficiency repertoire…..and a healthy one at that.