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Turmeric has been the spice of choice to infuse robust flavor into Indian and Middle Eastern recipes for thousands of years. Over the past decade, however, the spice has become increasingly popular in Western cultures as more people come to understand its’ incredible medicinal benefits, as well as the culinary uses. While typically available in most supermarkets in small plastic bottles, growing turmeric in aquaponics gardens can provide fresh spices right from your backyard.
In this article, we will provide the essential information you need to start growing Turmeric in your aquaponics setup.
Why Grow Turmeric in Your Aquaponics Garden
As more people from all countries realize the growing threats of famine and national food shortages, millions are looking to embrace sustainable gardening practices such as aquaponics. In particular, cultivating spices such as Turmeric that can offer both culinary and medicinal benefits are highly valued amongst aquaponic practitioners.
Turmeric, a rhizome, belongs to the Zingiberaceae family of tropical and subtropical plants and is closely related to ginger. It is a common spice and a major component of curry powder. It is usually grown in India, certain parts of Asia, and in Central America. Even in ancient times, Turmeric is used in treating a number of health conditions. And today, it is used as a dietary supplement.
Types of Turmeric
There are several varieties of Turmeric spices, and most of them are yellow or orange in color. In addition, the spice can be found in shades of both black and white, however, these are typically less common.
This is used as a natural cosmetic but not for cooking because of its bitter taste.
This variety is commonly used for cooking and to create curry powders.
Kari Manjal (Black Turmeric)
It’s a rare variety and is commonly used for Ayurvedic medicines.
It’s another variety of Turmeric that can be used for particular medicines.
How to Serve Turmeric From Your Aquaponics Garden
Turmeric is a versatile spice that can be served in a variety of ways. You can use it raw, turn it into a paste, or powderize it. Freshly grated Turmeric can be added to soups, stews, salads, and other foods to boost its flavor. Others are more comfortable to use the paste and powdered Turmeric in creating yogurts and healthy smoothies.
The root of Turmeric is also used to create traditional medicines. And in some cases, it can be a fabric dye agent.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Curcumin is an active compound found in Turmeric. This has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. That’s one of the reasons why Turmeric holds a lot of health benefits. According to research, it is proven to help in the following health conditions:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart diseases
- Certain types of cancers
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Skin infections
- Delay signs of skin aging
The list could go on for days as there is no shortage of benefits one could gain from Turmeric.
Cultivating Turmeric in Your Aquaponics Garden
Below are helpful guidelines and information to start growing Turmeric in Aquaponics Gardens.
Aquaponic System Types
Individual and commercial growers of Turmeric often use media bed. This uses containers filled with clay or gravel that will support the roots. Generally, this technique is best for backyard gardeners as it will not require extensive engineering.
In order to maximize nutrient uptake, you should maintain the pH levels between 5.7 to 5.8.
Water and Air Temperature
Generally, Turmeric can grow best in humid conditions with a temperature of 72-86°F. A higher temperature is ok as well. Please take note that colder temperatures and over watering can slow down the Turmeric’s growth.
Ideally, you should provide around 12 to 14 inches of space between your Turmeric plants.
Turmeric can grow in direct or indirect sun. However, you shouldn’t keep it under shade for a long time. As mentioned, it can slow down the growth of your Turmeric. For those who plan to place it under direct sunlight, just make sure that the soil is wet at all times.
When growing Turmeric in aquaponics gardens, there are a few fish varieties that can work well. If you are searching for fish that are edible and can thrive in most aquaponics conditions, you may choose Catfish, Tilapia, or Trout. But for a more aesthetically-appealing fish, Koi and Goldfish are great choices.
The best option for growing medium is to use clay. The microscopic holes create good drainage. At the same time, it can hold the right amount of water to keep the plants healthy.
River rock is also advisable if you are looking for a cheaper alternative or if you are just starting your aquaponics garden. However, its heavy weight can be considered a disadvantage. If you use river rock, make sure to wash it first to remove the limestone. Limestone, if left unwashed could increase pH levels in your setup.
With perfect conditions, Turmeric can be harvested after six months. The best times to plant it is during spring and fall. During the warmest days, you can create partial shade so that the leaves will not get sunburned.
You should cut your rhizomes into sections where each section has at least two buds. These can be spread on your media bed’s surface. Ideally, you have to fertilize your Turmeric plant at least four times during the growing period. The best fertilizer to use is made of vegetables and fruits.
Good news because Turmeric is not really prone to serious pests and other plant diseases. However, you should watch out for red spider mites, rhizome scale, shoot borers, and leaf rollers.
Turmeric can also suffer from rot and leaf spots. The best solution is always to keep your soil well-drained.
And lastly, here are a few tips on how to reap the full potential of your Turmeric after harvesting it.
- Always wash and brush your Turmeric before storing it.
- Dry it with a paper towel.
- Wrap it in a dry paper towel before placing it in a sealed bag.
- Place it in a refrigerator or freezer to last longer.
- If you notice mold growing, just cut the part off and replace the paper towel.