Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Grow Curry

Site: Curry plant prefers to be planted in full sun in a sheltered area. It flowers prolifically in poor well-drained loamy soil. The curry plant is a tender perennial hardy to zone 8, but can be grown with protection in zone 6. Not suitable for growing indoors, but can be grown in pots outdoors.

Propagation: Seed - sow February/March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Take stem cuttings in spring or autumn.

Growing: Plant 12 inches apart. Prune lightly in early autumn or spring. In areas with light frost, curry plants may die back temporarily. Protect leaves with 5-inch sleeve of straw set between chicken wire. In areas where temperature drops below 22°F, bring curry plants indoors for winter protection.

Harvesting: Pick leaves anytime and gather flowers as they open.

Culinary Uses: The leaves can be used fresh or dried to give a subtle seasoning to soups or stews but there is no resemblance to the intensity of flavour derived from M.koenigii. The flowers, which are borne in umbels, can be used in the kitchen as an attractive garnish or they can be dried for winter arrangements.

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