How to Grow Ginger



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Days to germination: Not grown from seed
Days to harvest: 8 to 10 months
Light requirements: Light shade, or filtered sun
Water requirements: Regular and frequent watering
Soil: Rich and well-drained soil
Container: Suitable, and necessary for many climates

Introduction

Ginger is an herb grown for its roots, or more accurately the rhizomes that grow under the ground. Colder regions will have to grow their ginger indoors, but you can have it out in the garden between zones 7 and 10.

As a spice, its zesty flavor is used in many dishes, and is particularly common in Asian cuisine. You can also use ginger in sweeter things like baked foods or drinks.

There aren’t a lot of traditional nutrients in ginger, but it is a common natural remedy for nausea and upset stomach. Candied ginger is a tasty sweet, and can be eaten by pregnant women to help with morning sickness.

Starting from Seed

Ginger isn’t started from seeds, but from fresh pieces of rhizomes or tubers. In fact, you can just buy fresh ginger from the grocery store and plant that. Choose ones that are plump and not starting to dry out or shrivel.

You can soak it overnight in water, but don’t actually try to sprout it in water. Ginger roots needs to breathe, so after soaking it, bury the piece of root in rich potting soil. Plant it about 4 inches deep and keep it moist without soaking it until it sprouts. If your piece of ginger has any little buds or knobs on it, turn it so those are pointing upward when you plant it.

The best time to start your roots is in late winter, so they are ready to plant out in the garden in early spring. For ginger to be grown exclusively indoors, the timing is still important because growing plants need the summer sunlight.

For outdoor plants, you could plant your roots directly outside to sprout but they run the risk of being dug up by rodent pests. Let your plants get started inside and then transplant.

Transplanting

Keep your plants approximately 10 to 14 inches apart, in a location that will have your plants out of the direct sunlight for most of the day. A little shade is good especially if its during the hottest parts of the summer. Your plants can grow around 3 feet in height.

Ginger cannot stand to have soggy roots, so the place you do your planting must have good drainage. Avoid any low-lying areas where water accumulates if you are growing outdoors.

For heavier soils, add a little sand to keep the water from building up around the roots. Overly sandy soils will be low on nutrients, so you need to strike a balance with ginger.

Growing Instructions

To keep the soil moist, add a heavy layer of mulch around the base of the plant once it’s growing well. Not only will that help to add some humidity for your plant, but the weeds will have a harder time as well. Ginger roots grow close to the surface, so you want to keep cultivating and weeding to a minimum or you will disturb the rhizomes.

Water fairly often without drowning it. The soil should always be moist, so give your ginger a watering 2 or 3 times a week.

Don’t be surprised if your plants don’t flower. It takes ginger 2 years or more to flower, and you are going to be digging up your plant after less than a year.

Containers

Each ginger plant should have a pot around 8 inches across, or you can grow more than one if you have a larger container. They don’t suffer much if they are a bit crowded.

Use very light potting soil, and add extra gravel to the bottom to help with drainage. Your potted plants should be kept in a sunny place, but not necessarily right in a south-facing window. Filtered light, with a bit of shading later in the day is ideal.

Pests and Diseases

The infamous cutworms are sometimes a problem with ginger, particularly if you have other vegetables around to attract them. Unfortunately, they can cut through a young plant almost overnight. If you are growing your ginger outdoors, you may want to place a little cardboard collar around the base of the stem to keep the caterpillars off.

Overall, ginger is a very disease-resistant plant so you shouldn’t have any mysterious problems to deal with. If left in wet soil too often, your plant can develop root rot or various kinds of leaf fungus. When a plant starts to wilt for no visible reason, gently dig down and make sure the roots are healthy and firm. Once they start to rot, you may not be able to save the plant. Let the soil dry out somewhat and add a fungicide to the soil.

Harvest and Storage

Be patient with your ginger. You will have nearly a full year before its time to harvest a new crop of roots.

The easiest way to harvest ginger roots is to wait until the plant begins to die down after about 8 or even 10 months, and dig up the entire plant.

If you can’t wait that long, you can cut away some of the rhizomes with careful digging without actually uprooting the entire plant. It’s a bit awkward to do in a container, but works better outdoors.

This kind of early ginger is called “green ginger” and is much more tender than later ginger. It’s milder in flavor and won’t even need to be peeled.

Once you washed off the dirt, you can store your roots (without peeling them) in the fridge inside a plastic bag with a damp towel. It will store for up to 3 weeks without losing any flavor.

You can also freeze whole rhizomes, and just grate off what you need without having to thaw the entire piece. It will lose some of its texture this way, but your ginger will last a very long time.

Drying ginger is another option, though it works best if you slice the roots thinly rather than try to dry the entire rhizome. Use a commercial dehydrator or an aoven set on low. You can dry ginger in the sun but it will almost certainly attract insects.

10 Responses to “How to Grow Ginger”

  1. Mary Dewey  Says:

    Good information. I have purchased a variety of ginger from a lady in Louisiana,and plan to have beautiful butterfly and coral ginger in the shaded areas of the yard. Thank you for sharing.

  2. thomas  Says:

    great info
    will start soon

  3. James Harrison  Says:

    We have some ginger that has started to sprout. Can they tubers be divided as you do a potato?

  4. Cat  Says:

    Thanks so much for this information on growing ginger. I had often wondered if I could grow this root. Now, I look very much forward to growing it. I would like to try a variety of types. I wasn’t aware of the variety. Good infer and thanks for the extra tips.

  5. Reg Kempnich  Says:

    Great Information We were the first to grow Ginger in Maleny Qld for The Buderim Ginger Factory in the early 19 Seventies to offset the downturn in the cattle industry. It was very successful.

  6. Reg Kempnich  Says:

    excellent information. we were the first to grow ginger in Maleny Qld for the Buderim Ginger Factory, in the early 19 seventies due to the downturn in the cattle industry.
    It was very successful

  7. Kim  Says:

    This is great info! I’m from northern Minnesota.
    After I start it in a pot can I just move the pot outside on my deck in the summer then back inside when it gets cold?

    Kim

  8. leo g king  Says:

    i am a ginger fanatic +love to use it in as many of my cooking recipes as i can,but, the price of ginger in the stores limit my purchases to a minimum .i live in west virginia in zone 6 + would like to grow my own.is it possible to grow it in containers for most of it’s growth +then transplant in the garden for the warmest time o the year to finish it’s growth?

  9. Samual  Says:

    Thank you for info. I am in the South Island of New Zealand.
    The ginger we are going to grow will be in a tunnel house all year. Really looking forward to first harvest.

  10. Julie  Says:

    Hi. I was given some ginger from a friend back in late Oct, it appears to be doing very well [I'm in Brisbane Qld]. It is just starting to flower. Do I harvest some or all of it, leave it to flower or what? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

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