Indira Yellow turmeric is a productive and dependable Indian variety with a rich, earthy flavor that forms the backbone of many curries. It is also great for making teas and golden milk, and like all turmeric, is prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has been a staple of Southeast Asian cuisine and herbal medicine for centuries. Its roots look similar to ginger, and are spicy, bitter, and somewhat reminiscent of carrots. Its beautiful leaves are also edible and can be used similarly to banana leaves to wrap around foods during roasting or grilling.
Turmeric can grow entirely outdoors as a perennial in USDA zones 8-11, but in cooler zones, it should be sprouted indoors in late winter to early spring and grown as an annual. Rhizomes can be cut apart into multiple seed pieces, as long as you’re careful to leave at least two “nubs” (growth points) per piece. Make sure to let the pieces sit out for a few days before planting so that a skin forms over the cuts. To sprout turmeric indoors, you’ll need a seedling tray and heat mat to keep the soil at 75 to 80 degrees until the rhizomes sprout. The soil should be kept moist, but not saturated. Once the sprouts come up, the rhizomes can be removed from the heat mats and transplanted into the ground after all danger of frost has passed, or potted up into containers. Growing in containers that can be moved indoors during cold weather is a good idea for those living in zone 7 and higher, to help extend your growing season later into the fall. The longer the plants grow, the larger the rhizomes you’ll get to harvest in the fall. The plants will need plenty of space (10 or more inches between plants), and loose, well draining soil with lots of organic matter. Feeding several times during the season with a high-nitrogen fertilizer like kelp meal or foliar fish fertilizer is a good idea. Harvest 8 to 10 months after planting (older roots will be tougher, but have more flavor), or for cool-climate growers, whenever the leaves turn yellow.
SMALL FARM GROWN by Wannamaker Farms, Hendersonville, NC