All about Ginger and How to Grow It
If you love to grow herbaceous plants in your garden, you must try to grow ginger. Ginger root is not only great for cooking. But, it will also make you healthy and feel better. Moreover, this plant will add a tropical flair in your garden with its beautiful flowers. Ginger may be a tropical plant, but it is possible for you to grow it in your garden if you know how to plant ginger.
Learn more about how to plant marigold seeds.
Everything about Ginger You Need to Know
Many people think that growing ginger is not easy because they are not available in most nurseries. Moreover, they never see a ginger field in North America and Europe. But, this plant is actually easy to plant.
Moreover, it does not need any special gardening skills to grow it. But, before you start the process of how to plant ginger, you need to understand more about this herbaceous plant.
These are several things about ginger that you need to know.
1. Origin and History of Ginger
Ginger is indigenous to Southeast Asia. The cultivation of ginger had been done thousands of years ago by Austronesian people.
It is predicted that they were the ones who spread ginger roots and plants to India and the Pacific Islands. Meanwhile, certain evidence showed that Chinese people had known this herbaceous plant since 3000 BC.
Later, dried ginger was sold by Indian and Chinese traders to the Middle East. Finally, it found its way to Europe.
Ginger became an expensive spice in Europe because they were as rare as diamonds. In the ancient period, ginger was mostly used as a healing property.
2. Plant Description
Zingiber officinale or ginger is a perennial plant. It comes from the family of Zingiberaceae. This plant is closely related to turmeric, galangal, and cardamom.
This particular plant has a tall pseudostem. It can reach to 1.5 m tall. Its leaves are narrow and pretty long. In addition, its cone-shape flowers are yellow, pink, red, and orange, depends on the variety.
The pseudostem grows from a rhizome which mistakenly called ginger roots. The roots themselves sprout from the rhizome.
When the plant is young, the rhizome has not developed yet. But, it will eventually developed and matured. It takes about 10 to 11 months for the rhizome to be ready for harvest.
Ginger plants that are ready to harvest usually have withered stems. Some people love to harvest old ginger roots. Meanwhile, others prefer young ginger roots.
The old ones have a stronger aroma and taste. They are perfect to give more flavors to your cooking. But, the young ones have milder taste and aroma. They are perfect for ginger tea.
3. Growing Condition
If you want to gain success in performing the steps of how to plant ginger, you need to make sure that you have the right growing condition for the plant.
These are what you need to pay attention at when preparing the planting site for ginger.
Ginger plant is a tropical plant. Therefore, it is not tolerant of cold. It will grow well all year round in hardiness zone 10. Moreover, you can also grow it directly to the ground in hardiness zones 7 to 9.
However, its leaves will die in winter. Moreover, you may also need to mulch the soil around the plant to protect the rhizomes from cold.
If you live in zone 6 or lower, you can still plant this herbaceous plant. However, it is recommended for you to grow it in pots. Therefore, you can grow the plant indoors during winter.
Though it is originally from tropical areas, a ginger plant is not too tolerant of the sun. It prefers partially shaded areas or filtered sun.
Therefore, it is better for you to plant it near a tree. You can also plant it in a pot and place it on the porch.
Ginger loves loamy soil. Moreover, the soil must be well-drained and loose. Before you grow this plant, it is better for you to enrich the soil with compost or aged manure. It is because ginger is greedy. It needs lots of nutrients during its growing season.
Another thing you need to consider is the acidity of the soil. Ginger can live in slightly acidic soil.
Therefore, you need to adjust the pH level of the soil between 5.5 and 6.5. Moreover, to have a thriving ginger plant, you need to keep the soil moist.
The Best Time to Plant Ginger
This particular plant cannot be planted from seeds or cutting stems. But, it can be planted from rhizomes. You may not find the rhizomes in a local nursery.
Therefore, as an alternative, you can buy them from the grocers. Once you get the roots, you can start the process of how to plant ginger.
To ensure your success in growing ginger, you need healthy and old ginger roots. The size of these rhizomes must be at least 10 cm. Moreover, it must have some ‘fingers’ or buds. If you see ginger roots with greenish fingers, you must get them.
The best time to plant the rhizomes is in the spring. However, you must make sure that the danger of frost has gone.
Moreover, it is also essential to make sure the soil is warmer enough for the ginger rhizomes to sprout. For areas with a colder climate, you can start planting them in late winter indoors.
4. Ginger Roots: Uses and Nutritional Value
Ginger roots have light brown skin. Meanwhile, its flesh is creamy yellow and sometimes a bit greenish. The size of ginger roots is varied. Some are big and some are smaller.
Moreover, this type of rhizomes offers slightly biting taste. However, this taste can make your cooking taste more delicious.
Ginger roots are sold in various forms, such as fresh ginger, powdered dry ginger, and dried ginger. Different forms of ginger are used differently.
The fresh and the dried ones are usually used in various Chinese dishes, Indian dishes, and Southeast Asian dishes. Meanwhile, the powdered dry ginger is usually used in baking and making ginger ale.
Many people from different cultures do not only use ginger roots for foods and beverages. But, they also use them as herbal medicine to relieve certain conditions.
Some of these conditions are cold, nausea, and joint pain. If you want to get these health benefits readily, you must know how to plant ginger in your garden.
Fresh ginger roots mostly contain water, almost 80%. Moreover, they also contain some small moderate amount of vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. But, these roots are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammation substance.
5. Ginger Varieties
The ginger roots that are usually found in the grocers are often called Chinese ginger or common ginger. It has bigger rhizomes. But, actually, there are other ginger varieties that you can grow.
Those varieties usually have attractive flowers. Therefore, if you want to make your garden more attractive, you need to know how to plant ginger varieties.
These are some of the ginger varieties that you can plant.
This type of ginger has smaller rhizome than common ginger. However, it has stronger taste and aroma.
The rhizomes of this particular variety can be used in cooking as the common ginger. Moreover, there are some cultivars from this ginger.
Some of them are kintoki and sunti. Unfortunately, you may not be able to buy the rhizomes in the nearest grocers.
This particular ginger is sometimes also called Japanese ginger. But it doesn’t have edible rhizomes. The edible part is its flowers.
The taste of the flowers is similar to young ginger. These flowers are pretty attractive. They can make your garden more beautiful. Myoga grow best in an area with filtered sun and moist soil.
This variety of ginger is also known as bitter ginger because of its bitter taste. That’s why it is not used in cooking.
Zingiber zerumbet is mostly used in herbal medicine. It is also used in making shampoo. It has red chili-like flowers.
It can grow well in areas with a warmer climate. If you want to plant it, you need to fertilize the soil around the plant every three months.
The best fertilizer for this type of ginger is 8-4-6 fertilizer. Moreover, it must be planted in a partially shaded areas and warm soil.
This particular ginger is also called beehive ginger. It is called so because the shape of the flower looks like a beehive.
When the flower is matured, its color turns to red. The rhizome, flowers, and leaves of this plant have a gingery aroma. This plant grows best in the humid climate and partial sun.
Learn more about how to grow asparagus.
How to Plant Ginger
Growing ginger in your garden is not as difficult as you imagine if you know the steps of how to plant ginger.
As it is stated previously, this plant can only be planted from rhizomes. This method has been done since ages ago. As a result, ginger flowers do not go to seed.
These are the steps of how to plant ginger that you can follow.
1. Preparing The Planting Spot
To have thriving ginger plants, you need to prepare the planting spot properly. There are some preparations that you need to do.
- Choose the best spot to grow the ginger plants. It must be on a partially shaded spot. Planting the plants in full sunshine can cause the plant to wither.
- Loosen the soil on the planting spot. Moreover, you need to mix the loose soil with compost and aged manure. As an alternative, you can add slow-release granular fertilizer in the soil. If the soil in this planting spot does not have good drainage, you need to make a raised bed.
- Water the soil so that it is moist enough to plant the rhizomes.
- If you are going to grow the rhizomes in pots, you need to prepare the pots and potting mix. Moreover, you also need to mix the medium with compost. After that, you must moist the medium.
2. Growing Ginger Roots
In the second step of how to plant ginger, you need to prepare the rhizomes before planting them. These are what you need to do.
- Choose organic ginger roots. They will likely be able to propagate because they are not treated with certain chemicals to prevent growth.
- If your fresh ginger roots have crinkled skin, soak them in water for a night. Soaking them in water will increase their chance of growing into new plants.
- Cut the ginger into several sections. Each section must be about 5 cm long. And most importantly, each of them must have at least one bud or ‘finger.’
- Make a shallow trench about an inch deep. Place the cut off ginger roots in it with the buds up. Space them about 30 cm apart. Then, firm the soil around the buds.
- Check and moist the soil properly. It may take two weeks for the rhizome to sprout leaves and roots.
3. Caring for Ginger Plants
In order to have big ginger roots, you need to care for the ginger plants properly. These are some things you must do in caring for them properly.
- Fertilize the soil every few weeks. In doing it, you can choose aged manure or compost. Moreover, you can also fertilize it with diluted fertilizer.
- It is essential to keep the soil moist. Moreover, you may need to mulch the soil around the plants in order to keep the soil stay moist. In dry weather, mist the plants properly. Doing it will give enough humidity needed by the plants.
Your harvest is getting closer if you see the stem and leaves start to wither. Once you see this sign, you need to cut the amount of water.
Forcing the plants to have live with less water will boost the growth of the rhizomes. Therefore, you will be able to harvest big ginger roots. Once the plant is completely dry and wither, you can harvest the ginger roots.
Harvesting the plants is easy to do. You only need to dig the soil around the plants carefully. After that, you can pull out the plants from the soil.
Then, cut of the stems and wash the ginger roots. Dry them in a dry and warm room. Once they are properly dry, you can use them in your cooking.
After harvest, you can actually start ginger planting right away. All you need is cut the stem with a small rhizome still attached to it.
This will eventually grow into another ginger plant. Now that you know the steps of planting ginger, you will be able to get the benefits of ginger easily.
Learn more about how to plant wildflowers.