Ginger is a root vegetable with a fresh, spicy flavor. It’s used in a number of dishes, including curries, stir-fries, salads and smoothies. It has powerful anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and is a great digestive aid, making it a fantastic choice for the home grower.
Not only it has medicinal properties, but it is also very easy to grow and maintain. Once grown, you don’t have to bother about it much apart from regular watering.
Where to Grow Ginger?
Ginger will grow in any sunny spot in a frost-free, sheltered spot. A greenhouse or conservatory is ideal.
How to Grow a Ginger Plant at Home?
You can get started using store bought ginger root. And you can easily grow ginger in pots or tubs, so growing ginger indoors is a possibility even in cooler climates.
Look for pieces with well developed “eyes” or growth buds. The buds look like little horns at the end of a piece or “finger”.
Whether you grow your ginger root in a pot or in the ground, you do need really good soil to start with. It needs to be rich enough to feed your ginger (you can always add some fertilizer), it needs to hold enough moisture so it doesn’t dry out, but it needs to be free draining so the ginger roots don’t become water logged.
If your garden has reasonable soil just dig in some compost and that should be good enough. If your soil is too heavy you can make a raised bed or a small hill or ridge to improve drainage.
The best planting time is late winter/early spring (late dry season/early wet season in the true tropics). Make sure you select a spot where the plants get plenty of light but no direct sun, and where they are protected from wind.
You can cut or break up the ginger rhizomes in little pieces with a couple of growing buds each. Or just plant the whole thing. Plant your ginger root five to ten cm/2-4 inches deep, with the growing buds facing up.
How Much Space Does Ginger Need?
Growing ginger doesn’t take up much room at all. Every rhizome you plant will first only grow a few leaves, in the one spot. Over time it will become a dense clump and very slowly get bigger, but only if it isn’t harvested.
The rhizomes underground also don’t seem to mind if they become a bit crowded.
Ginger only grows to about two to three feet/60-90cm in height.
How to care for Ginger?
As your ginger plant grows, keep it in a warm, partially shaded spot and water regularly, ensuring the compost remains just moist. Top up with additional compost as the stem grows. You can pot on your ginger plant and grow it on as a house plant or even outside in the summer months, taking care to ensure it’s not exposed to cold winds. If growing your ginger outside, move it back indoors when temperatures start to fall in autumn.
When To Harvest Ginger Root?
If you are growing ginger root in the garden you can start stealing little bits of it once it is about four months old. Just dig carefully at the side of a clump.
The best time to harvest ginger is any time after the leaves have died down. Usually it takes eight to ten months to get to that point.
Harvest all or some of the roots – you can cut the rhizome and pot up the rest, as long as you keep it in a warm, centrally heated spot over winter. Wash thoroughly before eating. You can store some roots in the freezer to use as and when you need to.
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