Some vegies require lots of attention, thought and TLC. Others you just plant...wait...harvest. Turmeric has been that type of plant for me. I've just harvested my first ever crop (if one plant can constitute a crop). I would never have believed that you could grow it in Melbourne, but was encouraged to give it a go when I saw what success Liz at Suburban Tomato had with it.
I bought a piece last Spring, planted it into a neglected herb garden bed which gets sun for about half the day in Summer, but hardly any in Winter, is full of building rubble and generally pretty poor soil. I watered it a bit in Summer when it started looking droopy, but otherwise just let it be for about 10 months.
I had no idea when to harvest it until I read that it's ready when the leaves start to die off. So when it started turning yellow in the last week or so, it seemed time to dig it up. For my investment of one piece of turmeric I was rewarded with about six pieces of beautiful, deep orange pieces. Apparently in tropical areas the plant produces a beautiful flower, but it seemed to be too cold here for that to happen. After I'd put the leaves in the compost I also read that you can eat the leaves in curries and stir fries.
I'll definitely plant some more in Spring, perhaps in large pots so that they can get more sun. And if turmeric works, I assume I could also grow ginger and galangal, so I'll give those a try as well. Gotta love gardening experiments that work - thanks for the inspiration Liz!
And for other inspiration, head over to Liz's blog to read some other Saturday Spotlights.