Ginger and Turmeric: How to grow the perfect pair
Introducing G&T, the perfect pair, and no we aren’t talking about gin and tonic. We’re talking about the ancient spice and perennial herb that belong to the Zingiberaceae family - ginger and turmeric. Although each is great alone, we love them even more together. Their union has been flaunted across some of our most visited grocery stores. You know it’s all ginger and turmeric in this and ginger and turmeric in that and it’s no wonder as they prove to be a potent combination. Specifically in cold-pressed immunity shots that have gained extreme popularity since the COVID outbreak! A mere cough will have you adding one of these vitamin packed shots to your basket.
Turmeric, also referred to as Curcuma longa by plant boffins, has a long-standing history with Ayurveda and India, but it was long used by ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans as food, natural dye, and as a cosmetic ingredient. With an outstanding past, its current popularity is no surprise. Turmeric is a natural wonder and is being used in face masks, lattes and to dye fabrics sustainably over and above being a staple spice in South African kitchens and in kitchens the world over. A powerful spice known for its vibrant colour, unique flavour, and for making one glow from the inside out.
Now enough about T, let us spill the tea on G, who also goes by the name of Zingiber officinale. Ginger is the star ingredient in gingerbread, ginger ale and speculaas, plus an accompaniment to sushi, one of the most loved foods in both the eastern and western parts of the world, despite its Asian origin. If the sheer enjoyment of it all isn’t enough there are also the medicinal benefits dear ginger offers. It has been known to boost the immune system, thus aiding seasonal coughs and colds. Come flu season, ginger will be infused in a variety of homemade concoctions due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It is often used in detox diets as it aids in weight loss and reportedly helps with indigestion too.
So, why have G or have T, when you can have G&T? Together they’re just better, each bringing their own incredible and unique benefits to the garden. Sure, you can easily buy them from the shop and that is all good and well, but growing them on your own ensures you have full control over their sustainable and organic cultivation.
How to grow ginger and turmeric
Not only are turmeric and ginger healthy for you, they also add beauty to the garden. Plus, they are really easy to grow and you’ll love harvesting these organic treasures from your own soil.
Ginger and turmeric are both rhizomes and require well-draining soil with plenty of sand and compost. This combination provides the perfect medium for them to grow in. You’ll want to grow your ginger in a semi-shade position and your turmeric in full sun, however afternoon shade is acceptable.
Both G&T can be grown in pots (at least 30cm deep) and will require watering every two to three days. When planted in the ground, you should water every three to four days. We said we like them together, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need their own space. Grow your ginger 5 -10cm beneath the soil and your turmeric 8cm beneath the soil.
Space each rhizome 30cm apart to give them room to grow to their full potential. You can harvest your ginger once the leaves begin to yellow and wilt (usually 8 months after planting). Both G&T’s leaves, flowers and roots are edible so you can have fun incorporating all parts of the plants into your homemade meals.
You’ll need a little bit more patience with your turmeric as it establishes itself. Once established, you can harvest pieces of root off the side of the plant throughout summer. Also, look out for the swoon-worthy flowers that turmeric offers at the base of the plant. For best results, mulch with compost and feed your plants with Pokon Vegetable Garden Bio Fertiliser. If you encounter any pests on your organic gardening journey we recommend using Biogrow Bioneem.
Once harvested, you can consume G&T fresh, or store it in the fridge or freezer. To make your own powders, cut the rhizomes into slices and leave them to dry before grinding in a spice or coffee grinder. Turmeric is a natural dye, so you will want to handle it with care unless you love Coldplay and are keen to turn your world Yellow.
In warmer parts of SA you can leave the rhizomes in the ground through winter dormancy. Everywhere else, we recommend lifting and storing in a cool, dry place such as your garage.
Grow your own turmeric and ginger, because it’s really easy, organic and sustainable and you’ll be able to make your own Immunity Shot and MORE with your harvest.
Immunity Shot Recipe
- Ginger and turmeric
- Lemon and pepper (another fabulous pair - don’t tell salt)
- Apple juice (optional)
- Glass vials
- Clean your organically grown turmeric and ginger well. You can peel the skin off if you desire.
- Juice the turmeric.
- Juice the ginger.
- Juice the lemon after peeling the skin off, or use lemon juice.
- Mix everything and add the black pepper, as it activates the benefits from the turmeric.
- Store in little glass vials and keep refrigerated for up to 7 days.
There you have it, a glorious guide to growing these summer gems in your garden that will bring value to your life in winter with their incredible properties. Get growing G&T and while you do it, have a gin and tonic if you like, because springtime in the garden is something to celebrate.