Turmeric: How to grow, harvest, use and store

Harvesting turmeric (Curcurma longa) is like digging up gold!

I’ve been digging up lots of turmeric from my food forest and kitchen garden over the years. I use it every day and love it fresh – in juices, grated in salad, but also in curries, egg dishes, teas, soups, and rice. Fresh and raw is best though – it’s more potent that way.

Join me in my garden today as I begin to dig up the first of this year’s harvest.

Check out a previous video of my harvest on Facebook.

I love these easy-to-grow plants and the abundance of valuable root, leaf, and organic matter they create.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used in India for over 2500 years. Well known as the orange/yellow colour in curries, and more recently in the popular golden milk, it is a medicinal powerhouse with great health benefits.

It is a superb natural cold and cough remedy with its antibacterial and anti-viral qualities. The anti-inflammatory action of its active ingredient, curcumin, helps to relieve chest congestion.

Turmeric is a fabulously easy plant to grow in warmer climates and it has so many beneficial uses.

Plant a segment of turmeric when the soil begins to warm, and nine months later, when the tops die back, dig for the abundant rhizomes. One of my plants yielded 5 kg last year!

5 kgs from one piece of turmeric in just 2 years.

In courtyards, balconies, and courtyards, you can grow it in big pots and grow bags. It certainly does prefer a warm humid climate, but there are niches you can find or create to extend its range somewhat.

Thanks to Bernie, a Turmeric farmer ( for writing and saying there are three key forms of turmeric: 

  • LONGA: deeply orange and contains lots of curcumin – the one to grow and use for medicine.
  • AROMATICA: yellow, the one in my film, mostly for culinary purposes.
  • NATIVE: Australia has native turmeric in North Queensland. Polynesia has black turmeric, and Hawaii folk has white turmeric.

Remember too that your body can only absorb curcumin when you add some pepper and oil too. This is why golden milk is popular, but also why it works in curries.

Please note, it is recommended that people on blood thinners should not consume turmeric.

I’ve made an 8-minute film about how I grow, harvest, use, and store turmeric. I hope you enjoy it!

What is permaculture?

To learn more about permaculture check out my 4 part permaculture series and take a look at Our Permaculture Life youtube channel where I have uploaded over 100 films I have made in my permaculture garden and in conversation with others.  Dive deeper into this blog too and you will find over 400 permaculture articles.

Now is such a great time to learn more about permaculture and consider making permaculture your way of life and livelihood too. To help with this, I offer two online permaculture courses:

I also encourage you to support free permaculture education programs for women and youth in the global south through our registered permaculture charity, the Ethos Foundation.

Sweet Potato - Eat The Roots And Shoots!