Gardening bliss: Turmeric harvest

I like to garden. Every day, usually in the morning while drinking my tea if I have time, I will stand in the yard and admire my plants. I check on them like babies to see how they're doing.

I have a little of everything in my small yard and none of it is aesthetically landscaped, so basically, I'm a stereotypical local Chinese grandmother. It's a mishmash of plants I like: herbs, tillandsia, succulents, fruit trees, and tropical flowers.

They sit in pots or in the ground; wherever I find space. My yard isn't pretty, but it's tidy and useful.

This week, my turmeric (`olena in Hawaiian) was ready to harvest. I planted it two or three years ago. It grows so well in my garden, it self-seeded another couple of plants.

I've never launched a full scale harvest in which I took a pitchfork* and dug up the entire corm out of the ground. (*OK, OK. I asked my husband to take the pitchfork and do the digging. LOL.)

Turmeric goes dormant in the winter, and it lets you know when it's ready to come up because the leaves die. We accommodated one of my plants, pulling up a beautiful, healthy root ball full of spreading rhizome clumps.

Three and a quarter pounds of `olena! 

For some reason, cooking with turmeric has become trendy, because after I posted it on social media, I received a surprising number of requests from friends asking for a plant or a rhizome. All these people cite the health benefits of the plant.

Gifts of turmeric!

I decided to cure and plant a dozen more rhizomes to either farm for next year's gifts, or to give away as potted plants that friends can replant and grow in their own garden. My kid thinks I should set up a stand at a farmer's market selling that and my always-well-received butter mochi. Ha ha, no.

I then spent an evening happily washing and drying the harvest, then researching things I can do with turmeric. Playing with my plants gives me joy. Plants are so wonderful!

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