In seems that most people think of ginger as an exotic spice grown in the Middle East and not as a simple rhizome that can be grown indoors. It is a fragrant and healthy addition to stir-fries and chutneys or relishes. If you live in an area where the local grocery store sells the plump roots, then you should be able to grow ginger quite easily in your home.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- potting soil
- ginger roots
- planting pot
- shady warm spot.
Go shopping. Find a grocery store that sells a wide variety of fresh vegetables and look for ginger. Pick a tuber that is plump and tight in its skin and not shrunken or wilted. There should almost be a shine to it and the colour of the skin should be a light sandy beige.
Prepare your soil. Ginger likes to grow in light, moist soil and prefers shade to sun. It grows almost like bamboo in that the rhizomes it produces lay just under the surface of the ground and grow by spreading outward. Use a light weight potting soil and add one part sand to three parts soil. Mix it well and fill your pot about three quarters full.
Push some soil aside and lay the ginger on its side in the middle of the pot. Any buds should be facing upwards, as they are the beginning of new stems. Cover it with the pushed aside soil until covered by about one inch of soil. Tamp it down lightly and place it in a window with indirect light. Make sure you have a good drainage tray underneath. The biggest requirement for ginger is warmth.
Make sure you use a balanced mix of nitrigen, phosphorus and potassium, as ginger is a heavy feeder. Be sure to keep the soil diluted with water. The typical grocery store ginger plant does not produce fruit and only rarely flowers so the more leaves it grows the more photosynthesis happens, making the rhizomes grow even faster. Water the ginger daily but make sure the soil stays moist and not soggy. Keep the drainage tray separate from the pot by setting some pebbles in the tray before setting down the pot. This should maintain good drainage. However, if you see water reaching the bottom of the pot, remove the water.
After a few weeks of growing good strong stems and leaves, check under the surface of the soil for new plump rhizomes. Slice them off cleanly for your first taste of fresh ginger. You will also know there is new growth when the new little green shoots pop up from new areas in the pot. This ginger will not be as pungent as the mature ginger rhizomes that you will harvest later. Typically the ginger will grow for about ten months and then the leaves will yellow and die off. This is normal and is the time to stop watering daily and only lightly water about once a month to keep the rhizomes from drying out. Each year, if you do not harvest too much of the ginger, your mat of rhizomes will get thicker and you will be able to dig them up in the fall. Let them dry out and then use them in your favourite recipes.