Turmeric and ginger are tropical spices that can be grown at home. Their aromatic flavor is often used in Asian and Indian cuisine, and they are also reported to have medicinal properties.
Both plants are grown for their roots, which are dried up and ground into the spices you find in your supermarket. If you’ve ever seen fresh ginger or turmeric in the produce section, these fleshy roots, called rhizomes, can be used to propagate and grow your own plants at home.
Early in the spring, purchase several small pieces of either spice at the grocery store. Select plump and firm pieces with several “eyes,” or growing points, on them. This is where they will begin to develop new shoots. Wash them thoroughly to remove any growth retardant that could have been put on them during shipping. Cut the pieces into segments 1-2 inches long with a few eyes on each. Then allow them to sit for a few days before planting. This will allow them to callus, or scab over.
If you are planting them in a pot, make sure you have rich loamy soil for the ginger to grow in. Plant the sections 2-4 inches deep and 6 inches apart with the eyes pointing upwards. Since ginger and turmeric are tropical plants, they both like high humidity, high temperatures, and plenty of bright shade.
Ginger can become about 3 feet tall, so make sure your container is large enough to adequately support the plant. While it is growing, do not overwater. In the fall, begin to water the plant less to encourage rhizome growth. Ginger is harvested by digging up the entire plant at about 8-10 months of age. Turmeric can be harvested when the leaves have died down in the fall. Rinse them thoroughly before using. The fresh ginger and turmeric will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
More information and specific instructions can be found in this article from University of Florida Extension:
Questions? Contact your local extension office at (404) 613- 7670.