Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
If you’ve always wanted to grow spices at home, it’s time to ditch the store-bought flakes and start growing your own. Growing spices is easy, and can be done year-round in most climates. It’s fun and rewarding, with healthy results coming right back into your food as well. You may even try growing exotic spices to increase your gardening skills. Not only would you gain more skills in gardening, but having home-grown spices could save you a trip to the market!
The 3 Types of Spice Growing Spices
Seed spices like dill, fennel, fenugreek, nigella, cumin, sesame, mustard, and caraway are excellent for boosting overall crop production and learning seed-saving skills. They must flower to produce abundant seeds. Those flowers are not only critical to spice production but also perfect for attracting beneficial pollinators to your garden.
The more pollinators you attract, the more fruitful your other pollinator-dependent plants like cucumbers, squash, apples, peaches, etc. will be. Also, growing and harvesting seed spices employ the same basic skills as saving seeds to plant in the garden. You must plan for pollination, identify the perfect time to harvest, and store those spices like you would heirlooms and open-pollinated garden seeds.
Once you know how to grow and harvest seed spices, you’ll be ready to save seeds for your vegetables too.
Underground Spice Growing
You can also grow spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic and horseradish to harvest their underground parts. This is a great way to increase your knowledge about soil amendments, good watering practices, and how to cultivate them.
For spices, which are harvested for their roots, enlarged stems and rhizomes as well as bulbs, you need deeper soil to support them than the shallow-rooted annuals in your typical vegetable garden. You will need to be skilled in making soilless potting mixtures or amending native soil with aged soil. This will promote drainage. To get the best yields, you will need to keep soil fertility in check with liquid fertilizers such as homemade compost tea.
Own Potting Soil and Deep Watering
You can make your own potting soil and improve your native soil to grow underground spices. These skills are essential for vegetable production. Deep watering is also a skill that you will need to master in order to ensure nutrients and moisture are available at the root zone of your spices.
Deep watering is more difficult at first because you have to soak your containers and beds slowly to allow water to penetrate the soil and fully saturate them. However, soil that has been soaked for a while will retain moisture and allow you to water more often.
You can trade the habit of watering shallow soil every day for deep, consistent watering. This will drive roots, organic matter and soil life deeper underground, where nutrients and moisture are more stable and easily accessible to plants. Plants with deeper roots are more resistant to drought and disease.
Perennial Spice Growing
It is necessary to take care of perennial spices like peppercorns, vanilla, cinnamon, vanilla, and cinnamon over a long period. Even if you don’t live in tropical climates, these spices can be a great teacher and help you create your own microclimates to grow plants. You can also keep them indoors for part of the year or all year to enhance your indoor space.
Creating Microclimates to Grow Spices at Home
It can be daunting to create a microclimate. It’s really as simple as adapting your skills to maintain a comfortable home for your plants.
To accommodate heat tolerances, our thermostats are adjusted seasonally. It’s the same for perennial spices. They require more heat during the active growth season but can tolerate cooler temperatures when daylight is reduced. Sometimes, our comfort preferences match the needs of our plants.
Our homes can be the ideal environment for growing spices. You may need to adjust your indoor conditions to grow spices indoors.
Subtropical and tropical spices need more humidity than we do. A small humidifier can be placed near your plants, or keep a water bowl nearby. To increase humidity, mist your plants regularly with a light spray of water.
You can also grow multiple plants that are humidity-loving close together. These plants will create a mini-ecosystem of humidity.
For maximum productivity, spice plants need to have specific light conditions. Black pepper and vanilla, for example, prefer bright, filtered sunshine, such as through the foliage of taller plants. Young cinnamon likes part shade but mature cinnamon likes full sun.
For the best light for perennial spices, place them around the outside perimeter of your side windows’ light radius. Move them closer to the window each day until they find the right light level. You can also move the shade side of your plant towards the sun every few weeks to ensure equal sunlight. Spices can be sensitive to changes in light quantities. If you do it correctly, your leaves will look more supple and glossy. They will look dull and depleted if you do it wrong. It’s almost like bad lighting.
Remember that you will need to adjust the plant’s position as the sun angles change throughout the year. You should also keep in mind that areas near windows may be colder than other parts of your home in winter. You may have to adjust your environment to keep tropical plants warm near cool windows. If you don’t have a sunny window, indoor grow lights might be an option.
3 Exotic Spices To Grow At Home
Full sun, cool-season annual, grown for seed
Fenugreek, a nitrogen-fixing legume, can be grown outdoors in the ground and in pots. From the time you plant seeds to harvest them, it takes between 3-4 months. Online seed sales are available through a variety of heirloom and herb seed sellers. Fenugreek can be self-fertile, which means that you can grow seeds from one plant. To harvest the fragrant, spicy aroma and attract pollinators, you will need to plant multiple plants.
After the risk of frost in early spring, soak seeds for at least a few hours before planting. Next, plant approximately 1/4 inch deep in prepared soil. Plant 3 plants in a 2-gallon container. You can also grow four plants per square foot in your garden.
Fenugreek can also be grown in the same way as bush-type spring peas. Allow the pods to dry on your plant. Small batches of beans can be shelled or larger batches can be threshed/winnow.
Part to full sun, tropical, perennial grown as an annual
Turmeric can be grown in the same way as ginger. Its large, wide leaves are reminiscent of banana leaves and make for a more striking house or patio plant.
Turmeric is most productive when the temperature is above 70 Below 55 degrees can cause it to become stressed. It can be grown indoors in cold conditions and moved outdoors when it is warm. You can also start it indoors in warm fall and early first frost areas. Then transplant it outdoors when the tomatoes are ready.
Turmeric Spice Growing
Buy a “mother” turmeric from a trusted supplier online. These are often pre-sprouted to allow for early spring planting. Place the mother in a pot 3 gallons large, 2 inches deep.
To transplant to outdoor garden beds, you should start indoors with a 1-gallon container of aged compost. Once temperatures rise above 55 degrees, you can transplant the whole contents of the pot to rich, deep soil.
Feeding, Harvest, Storing, and Replanting
You can fertilize turmeric every week by using compost tea or organic liquid plant fertilizer. Harvest rhizomes can be used for fresh harvest in the late summer, once they have reached sufficient size. To dry, store for a long time, or save the plants to replant next year, wait until fall when the leaves start to turn brown.
The fingers that are left from the mother’s side can be used as spices. To plant again in spring, save the mother (central part of the rhizome). To dry the fingers, boil them in water until softened. Then dehydrate and grind.
Filtered-light-loving, tropical perennial
Vanilla is a vining orchid, which can be found in forest litter. It is also an epiphyte, meaning it attaches to taller plants with aerial roots but doesn’t hurt them.
Online ordering of pre-started or vine cuttings You can either start it or pot it up in a 2-gallon container of orchid soil mixture. To support the vine’s growth, you can trellis it as it grows. After it reaches 3-5 feet, the vine will be ready to flower. A lattice trellis or a large board will allow the vine to move in tight spaces.
Vanilla thrives on leaf matter and decaying bark. To keep your orchids nourished, top off your pot with fresh soil mix. To help the microorganisms in the soil, you can also use compost tea or orchid plant food once a month.
Happy vanilla is made when the growing medium remains moist, but not too wet. Try to maintain a relative humidity of at least 60%. In dry conditions, mist the vines. It should not be below 60 degrees in winter, and it should not drop below 80 degrees from spring to fall. Once the flower begins to bloom, it will take 3-4 years for you to hand-pollinate new flowers with a toothpick each morning.
If you grow spices at home on your own can save you money and provide you with the opportunity to experiment with new flavours. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends. Thanks for visiting!