Turmeric is a plant in the same botanical family as ginger. It is native to Southern Asia, but turmeric is grown in a few other warm, humid climates around the globe. The turmeric is used mostly in the kitchen and as the medicine of injuries.
Climate & Soil
Turmeric can be grown in diverse tropical conditions. This crop requires hot and moist climate. It is recommended for the cultivation in the irrigated area. Turmeric grows in all types of soils. But it thrives well in drained sandy loam to loamy soils with moderate organic matter content. The crop cannot stand waterlogging or alkalinity. Turmeric is shaped tolerant crop.
To get fine seedbed, 2 or 3 ploughings followed by planking are necessary. The field should be free from stubble and weeds.
Turmeric is propagated by rhizomes. Fresh healthy and uniform sized rhizomes weighing 6-8 quintals are sufficient to plant in an acre.
Forgetting a higher yield, the crop is to be sown directly in the field by the end of April. In subcutaneous and northern districts, the sowing can be delayed for a week. It can also be raised by transplanting up to first fortnight of June without losing much in yield. For this, rhizomes should be sprouted in the nursery by planting them in close spacing and 35-45 days old seedling should be transplanted in the field.
Healthy and disease free rhizomes are planted in lines, keeping a distance of 30cm in the rows and 20cm between the plants. After planting, apply straw mulch @2.5 tons per acre. Keep the soil moist until the sprouting of rhizomes.
Manure and Fertilizers
Mostly for good crop and a maximum output, farmers are using natural fertilizers animal dung's, and avoid using chemical or other harmful pesticides. Turmeric needs heavy manuring. Application of well rotten cow dung and compost is taken from own farm. Turmeric responds favorably to organic manuring. A Basal dose of 10kg P2O5(60kg single superphasted) and 10kg K2O (16kg muriate of potash) can be drilled at planting.
For the turmeric, number of times irrigation, will depend upon the soil and climate conditions. Depending upon the soil and rainfall 15 to 25 times irrigation is done in medium heavy soil and in case of lights textures red soil 35-40 irrigation is needed.
Harvesting & Yield
Usually, harvesting extends from January to April. Easy maturing varieties takes 7-8 months and medium varieties are 8-9 months. The crop is ready for harvesting when the leaf turns yellow and drying up. At the time of maturity, leaves are cut close to the ground, the land is ploughed and rhizomes are gathered by hand picking or the clumps are carefully lifted with the spade. The picked rhizomes are collected and cleaned. The mother and sister rhizomes are separated before curing.
The yield of pure crop varies from 8000 to 10,000kg/acre. Under exceptionally favorable conditions. By abundant manuring and copious irrigation, it may be as high as 12,000kg/acre.
Boil the clean rhizomes in a vessel having narrow mouth after adding sufficient water to cover the rhizomes in it. Boiling should be continued for an hour till the rhizomes become soft. If boiling is to be done under the pressure, then 20 min is sufficient. Boiled rhizomes are dried in the sun. On a small scale, dried rhizomes are polished by rubbing them against a hard surface whereas, on a commercial scale, special polishing drums are available.
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is Curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful, anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.