Turmeric Farming/Curcuma Farming Guide:
Today, Let us discuss today the Turmeric Farming Techniques and Planting methods of turmeric. Growing turmeric in India is becoming very popular due to that fact, it has many benefits and uses. Apart from this, it has demand in local markets and international markets. You can grow turmeric in pots, containers, backyards in your home garden.
Planting of Turmeric:
Whole or split mother rhizomes are used for planting and well developed healthy and disease free rhizomes are to be selected. Small pits are made with a hand hoe in the beds in rows with a spacing of 25 cm x 30 cm and covered with soil or dry powdered cattle manure. The optimum spacing in furrows and ridges is between 45-60 cm between the rows and 25 cm between the plants. A seed rate of 2,500 kg of rhizomes is required for planting one hectare of turmeric.
Agro-Climatic Conditions for Growing Turmeric:
Turmeric is a tropical herb and is grown in both tropics and subtropics. It will grow luxuriantly in the shade if not too dense, but it produces larger and better rhizomes in the open ground exposed to the sun. Turmeric requires a humid climatic condition.
Suitable Soil for Turmeric Plantation:
Soils for Turmeric cultivation should be rich and friable. Soils with a little higher sand content (Loams and sandy loams) are well suited. It is grown in different types of soils from light black, sandy loam and red soils to clay loams. It grows on light black, ashy loam and red soils to stiff loams in rainfed areas.
Land Preparation for Turmeric Production:
In Turmeric farming, while preparing the land, minimum tillage operations may be adopted. Beds of 15 cm height,1 m width and of convenient length may be prepared to give at least 50 cm spacing between beds. In the case of the irrigated crop, ridges and furrows are prepared and the rhizomes are planted in shallow pits on the top of the ridges. Spacing generally adopted is 45-60 cm between the ridges and 15-20 cm between the plants. Solarisation of beds is beneficial in checking the multiplication of pests and diseases causing organisms. The polythene sheets used for soil solarisation should be kept away safely after the work is completed.
The Best Plantation Time of Turmeric :
Planting season varies with the area of cultivation and variety. Planting is done during May-June or July- August in different tracts. Turmeric can be rotated with crops such as Finger millet, Rice and Sugarcane. It is rarely cultivated in a pure stand but is usually grown mixed with crops like Castor, Maize, and Finger millets, Onions, Brinjal, and Tomatoes.
Planting material of Turmeric Crop:
In Turmeric Farming, carefully preserved seed rhizomes free from pests and diseases which are collected from organically cultivated farms should be used for planting. However, to begin with, seed material from high yielding local varieties may be used in the absence of organically produced seeds. For sowing, both the mother – rhizomes and fingers are used. The fingers are cut into 4 – 5 cm long pieces, and the mother rhizomes are planted as such or split into two; each having at least one sound bud. The seed is sometimes sprouted under moist straw before sowing.
Read: How To Grow Clover.
Irrigation requirement of Turmeric Crop:
For turmeric number of irrigations will depend upon the soil and climatic conditions. Depending upon the soils and rainfall 15 to 25 irrigations are given in medium heavy soils and in case of light textured red soils 35-40 irrigations are needed.
Crop Rotation for Turmeric Production:
Turmeric is grown in rotation with sugar cane, chilli, onion, garlic, elephant foot yam, vegetables, pulses, wheat, ragi, and maize. It is cultivated as a subsidiary crop to ginger in some areas and in other areas with chilli and quick-growing vegetables.
Manures and Fertilization Requirement for Turmeric Crop:
Mostly for a good crop and maximum output the farmers are using natural fertilizers, animal dung’s, and avoid using chemicals or other harmful pesticides. Turmeric needs heavy manuring. Application of well rotten cow dung or compost from own farm @2-3 tonne /acre may be given as basal dose while planting rhizomes in the pits. In addition, the application of neem cake @ 0.8 tonnes/ acre is also desirable.
Care, Pests and Disease Control of Turmeric Plants:
- If shoot borer incidence is noticed, such shoots may be cut open and larve picked out and destroyed. If necessary neem oil 0.5% may be sprayed at fortnightly intervals.
- No major disease is noticed in turmeric. Leaf spot and leaf blotch can be controlled by restricted use of Bordeaux mixture 1%. Application of Trichoderma at the time of planting can check the incidence of rhizome rot.
Harvesting Techniques of Turmeric:
Usually, harvesting extends from January to March-April. Early varieties mature in 7-8 months and medium varieties in 8-9 months. The crop is ready for harvesting when the leaves turn yellow and start drying up. At the time of maturity, leaves are cut close to the ground, the land is plowed and rhizomes are gathered by hand-picking or the clumps are carefully lifted with a spade. The picked rhizomes are collected and cleaned. The mother and finger rhizomes are separated before curing.
Harvesting is done by either manually or by mechanical.
Curing, Boiling and Drying of Turmeric Fingers:
Curing involves boiling of fresh rhizomes in water and drying in the sun. The objective of boiling is to destroy the viability of the fresh rhizomes and to obviate the raw odor, to reduce the drying time, to gelatinize the starch for hardening the rhizomes and give a more uniform colored product and an even distribution of color in the rhizome. In the traditional methods, the cleaned rhizomes are boiled in copper or galvanized iron or earthen vessels, with water just enough to soak them. The boiling process should be done over a slow fire until they softened. Boiling is stopped when froth comes out and white fumes appear giving out a typical odor when properly cooked, the rhizomes would be soft and yield when pressed between fingers. The boiling lasts for 45 to 60 minutes when the rhizomes are soft. Overcooking spoils the color of the final product while undercooking renders the dried product brittle.
The cooking of turmeric is to be done within two or three days after harvesting. The mother rhizomes and the fingers are generally cured separately. The cooked fingers are dried in the sun by spreading 5 to 7 cm thick layers on a bamboo mat or drying floor. A thinner layer is not desirable, as the color of the dried product may be adversely affected. It may take 10 to 15 days for the rhizomes to become completely dry. The yield of the dry product varies from 20 to 30 percent depending upon the variety and the location where the crop is grown.
Preservation of Turmeric seed:
Rhizomes for seed are generally heaped under the shade of trees or in well-ventilated sheds and covered with turmeric leaves. Sometimes, the heap is plastered over with earth mixed with cow dung. The seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits with sawdust. The pits can be covered with wooden planks with one or two holes for aeration.
The yield of Turmeric:
The yield of pure crop varies from 8,000 to 10,000 kg per acre. Under exceptionally favorable conditions, viz. abundant manuring and copious irrigation it may be as high as 12,000 kg per acre.
Read: Indoor Growing.