Growing Tumeric in the tropical climate

simonsOctober 7, 2008

I live in what technically is a "tropical" climate in southern Louisiana. I have a hard time interpreting planting times because our seasons are so differant here and there is no real "winter" i think of fall as planting time, theres no frost.

I want to start growing tumeric to use for medicinal propertys with my carpel tunnel. I'm wondering how to grow it here. When to plant, can i do it indoors (i'd rather so i can move it if i move houses.)

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bihai(zone 9)

If you live in zone 8 you are not in a tropical climate. Frostfree doesn't mean tropical. Tropical means that it's usually not ever below about 60-65 degrees. If you are lucky enough to have never, ever had frost at your house in So Louisiana, I know a couple of friends in So Louisiana who would like to move in with you.

Turmeric goes dormant in winter, even if kept very warm, due to the daylength change. I grow it in a pot in my greenhouse, which is kept in a zone 11 year round climate state.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 5:24PM
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John Pool(z7 GA)

Biahi:

I'm growing turmeric for the first time and have no reference on how to proceed now that summer is over. I've brought it in to the greenhouse for the winter where it continues to grow so far. But you're saying it is going to go dormant at some point as daylight hours diminish. Is it going to die back then? And how do you care for it during this dormant period -- do you continue to water it? Please share information on what to expect and do during the winter?
Thanks -- JPool

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:47PM
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bihai(zone 9)

Turmeric is a Curcuma, it's botanical name is Curcuma longa.

The curcumas are deciduous gingers, they naturally go dormant in the winter season, even in the tropics. Their main trigger for dormancy is the fact that the rainfall in the tropics is seasonal, and they go dormant in the dry season. They re-emerge when the rains start up again. Temperature has very little to do with it in the true tropics.

The dry season in the true tropics coincides pretty nicely with winter here in the temperate zones. Deciduous gingers like curcumas, zingibers and globbas go dormant A) when the rainy summer season passes and B) when the days really start to shorten.

My Curcuma petiolata has already started going dormant. It is always the first one to do so. The others (Scarlet Fever, inodora, australasica, etc) usually can hang on til first frost in NOvember/December.

I keep my Turmeric in a pot just because we have a lot of predation by armadillos and wild pigs, and I actually want to get a large enough rhizome mass to harvest some for cooking someday. I just stash the pot in a corner of the greenhouse when it gets cold and let the plant go dormant, then I ignore it until about March 15th. I start watering again then and the plants pop back up and then apply Nutricote. My plants have tripled in number over 2 seasons.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 7:15AM
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aroideana(Tropical Australia)

Gina , its amazing at how much turmeric multiplies when grown in the ground . I planted several small plants [ just sprouted single rhizhomes ] and was surprised to see how much I harvested . 100 fold increase ! I cooked up a big batch of that Burmese Curry paste .

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 5:49PM
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bihai(zone 9)

That curry paste sounded so sumptuous...I can't wait to try it with tofu or tempeh! (I am a vegetarian/borderline vegan as you know). I think you should publish the recipe online for everyone!

The Galangal I planted from the rhizomes I got at the Thai/Chinese grocery turned into big sturdy plants over the summer. Very handsome looking! That was a good thing to have tried as well.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 7:34PM
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DevonMiller_rcn_com

I have a Galangal in a pot in zone 6b. Can I just stick it in a dark garage and leave it unwatered for the winter, or do I need to keep it on a windowsill with a little bit of water?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 11:30AM
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