Gardening Articles for week ending 5th AUGUST 2017

This year I feel spring is not going to be as early as we have seen in some past years; having a false spring about now in August with the weather turning to custard during the following months.

It would be better for gardening to have a later spring, with good weather flowing through into the new year.

Lets see what happens but in the meantime you can start planing what you are going to grow and gardeners with glasshouses plus heat pads; or using a few little tricks can get away to and early start with hardy plants at least.

I have always enjoyed the challenge of growing something different and recently I saw an article on the Internet about growing turmeric, the article said it was fairly easy to grow and also quoted the health benefits of using the fresh root in tea or meals.

Recently I attended the Home Show in Palmerston North where one big stand was devoted to the sale of capsulised turmeric for health.

I do know turmeric has a number of benefits which includes being good to keep cancer problems at bay.

The problem with growing it is to get the roots that have not been irradiated prior to importing.

I found some NZ grown tubers in an organic shop and likely there could be also in some Indian shops that sell produce.

From the web site: Health Ranger: Turmeric is one of the easiest plants to grow. The medicinal root is extremely low-maintenance and produces ample yields which should supply a typical household throughout the year.

Turmeric is grown similar to ginger root; that is, it sprouts from an underground tuber or rhizome and not from seeds. It takes around six to eight months for the plant to reach maturity and can grow to three or more feet tall.

Turmeric thrives in warm and humid conditions or around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 degrees Celsius). While they can be grown under direct sunlight, turmeric plants prefer fully shaded areas.

In order to get the best yield, it is essential that you make the planting conditions ideal.

Unlike ginger, turmeric roots sprout in all directions from its mother.

They're a little bit like weeds this way. As such, you would need to choose a pot that is both deep and wide.

Expert gardeners typically recommend a size that is 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep.

This should accommodate one turmeric finger that has a few buds. The size of the container should expand with each additional finger.

Similarly, you can try sprouting your own rhizomes in smaller, separate containers and then transferring them into larger pots once they grow and begin sprouting leaves.

Turmeric prefers light and loamy soil that is rich in nutrients. Pack in containers with well-draining compost. Regularly fertilize plants with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.

For those who live in colder climates, remember to add a top layer (one that is relatively thick) of mulch to preserve soil moisture.

As mentioned earlier, turmeric does not grow from seeds. Instead, new plants come from a mother rhizome. The easiest way to source the mother is to visit your local organic food store or farmer’s market.

When selecting an appropriate rhizome, choose those that are plump and have multiple bumps or buds along the sides. Old or shriveled looking rhizomes should be avoided.

Once you’ve made your selection, break a finger from the mother. Choose a finger that has at least two to three buds on its side. Bury the finger about two inches deep in a pot, with the buds facing up. The container should then be set in an area that is relatively warm but not exposed to too much sunlight.

You will see shoots in around four weeks; however, these are still babies and should be left alone. You may begin harvesting after six to eight weeks. Wait for the plant to turn yellow and the leaves to dry out before digging up the turmeric.

You need not dig up the entire plant. If you only need a few pieces, you can harvest only the fingers you need and leave the rest of the plant growing.

Rhizomes remain fresh for up to six months, when refrigerated in an airtight bag. This can be extended if you store them in the freezer.

Health benefits

One of the best ways to take turmeric is as a tea. The beverage can take some time to get used to, but it does grow on you eventually.

Ingesting turmeric as a drink is also the easiest way to reap its many health benefits, which include the easing of arthritis symptoms, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, reducing the risk of cancer, maintaining ulcerative colitis remission, boosting the immune system, lowering bad cholesterol levels, and treating

uveitis (inflammation of the iris), among other things. (Related: Turmeric is the Anti-Aging, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory Super Spice.) END

A friend of mine from India says if you are going to digest turmeric it should be taken with fatty food to increase the absorption into your body.

I have just obtained a few tubers from the local organic shop and keen to grow it.

Commercial vegetable growers planting up paddocks of vegetable seeds prefer to plant seeds rather than plugs (seedlings) because they establish better. Using a machine to sow seeds can mean that instead of one seed you get several in the same spot which means going back later on and removing all but one.

Punnets and cell trays you buy from the garden centre will often have several seedlings in each spot because they were mechanically sown.

To overcome this commercially and sow smaller seeds such as carrots these are supplied inside a special string that is 100 metres long so all they have to do is lay the string with seed string in a straight furrow and cover over.

The commercial seeds are coated with a protective coating to prevent damage and makes them easier to handle.

A few months ago I met up with a chap also called Wally who makes these strings of seeds for the commercial growers and he gave me a few varieties of carrots and radish to try.

The seeds are spaced at the right distance apart for optimum growing and minimum land waste.

They were excellent to sow and grow, ending up with wonderful crops.

I am so impressed that I asked him if I could buy some varieties to sell to gardeners so they also could enjoy a nice easy way of planting these.


There are two types of carrots one normal and one which is bunching meaning a sweet baby type carrot. A radish, spinach, beetroot and spring onion variety. Names will likely mean nothing to most as they are special hybrid commercial types with very high germination rates.

In fact as far as I could work out they must have been about 100% germination.

They are also fairly quick maturing as commercial growers want to have as many crops as possible in a year so during the growing season.

Firstly fertilise the area you want to sow with the likes of blood & Bone animal manures like sheep pellets worked into a friable free draining soil..

To sown all you need to do is make a straight furrow, sprinkle in it the likes of Neem Powder, BioPhos, Wallys Earth Builder and Rok Solid. Lightly cover with soil and then lay your string seeds, spray them with MBL and then cover with more soil. Keep area moist, not wet and be amazed at your crop later on.

Early in the season it is best to sow small amounts and say about 3-4 weeks later sow another and repeat this.

If the first lot is successful great but if effected by weather conditions fail then likely the next batch will do better. Also you do not have a lot maturing at the same time and cant use making a waste of money, time and garden space.

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Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.


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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Wally, 

thanks for the info regarding growing turmeric and as you say it is really good for us, I take a spoon full, started off with jus a little due to taste and yellow tongue :)), of organic turmeric in my porridge with some black pepper to help the turmeric absorb into my body and I was wondering if you have heard the same or can offer some info. 

best regard's


Hi Paul, I use turmeric together with ginger or occasionally cinnamon. The touch of black pepper helps multiply it's effectiveness by many times (Piperine, a key chemical in black pepper helping absorption).
I use this for anti-inflammatory purposes, digestion, joint pain and to clean the blood. 

BUT when using TUMERIC for this purpose, I make sure that I use turmeric and cumin  with high quality fats.  Curcumin is soluble in oil and insoluble in water so it makes sense that it should be eaten with good quality saturated fat.

The fats we use at home are extra virgin coconut oil and extra virgin oil oil and occasionally gee.

I also understand fermented turmeric is even better!  I haven't gone that far yet but one day soon...

Nice 1 Rose for your reply and info and it is nice to see i am, sort of on the right track, i had a Malignant melanoma when I lived in the uk and that was what started me looking for some thing that would help stop this type of problem.  I must have damaged my skin as a youngster and jus loVed the sun as a boy, so when in my late 20's up it popped. Living in the uk born in Wales not much sun you may think, i was fortunate to have met a kiwi nurse who was well up on Skin Cancer, ie coming from and trained in nz.  I was told on a mon day, " oh you better get that looked at its weeping ", 2 days later the operation took place in Kings College hospital in london.  freaked me out a little, 38 or so stitches later and here i am.  it was on the 6th layer of skin and apparently about to enter my nymph glands...

its good to hear it cleans the blood, my mum now takes it too :))

Thanks again.


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