Ginger is a perennial plant grown for its rhizome developed underground, which is commonly used as a culinary spice, tea, or garnish. It is a tropical or subtropical plant and can be grown indoors in a container in cooler climates. Leaves are narrow and can grow to 3–4 feet tall, resembling grass or reeds. Harvest can be continuous or all at once after the leaves begin to die back. Flowers are white or pink but not as flashy on the edible type as they are on related gingers, which are grown as ornamental plants. All parts of the plant can be used for traditional benefits, nutritionally and medicinally.
Seed: Not grown from seed.
Vegetative: Ginger is mainly propagated through division of the rhizome.
Rhizome Depth: 2–4″
Space Between Plants: 6–12″
Space Between Rows: 8–12″
Soil Temperature: 70–85°F
Days for Sprouting: 7–21
Sow Indoors: Late winter or early spring in cooler climates where frost is a danger.
Sow Outdoors: Late winter or early spring in climates where there is no frost danger.
Tropical climates (Zones 7 and above) are where this plant species thrives outdoors. Ginger prefers warm, humid environments with a constant flow of filtered sunlight and rich, moist soil that drains well. If this does not sound like your surroundings, grow indoors in rich potting soil either in direct sun or all-day equivalent of artificial light. This plant will not survive frost, and tubers will not mature in cold soil; however, the plant will work as an ornamental in colder outdoor climates.
Natural: Dappling, filtered light.
Artificial: HPS bulbs.
Soil: Soil richness is essential for your ginger. A mixture of sandy soil with compost tilled in will work just fine. If your soil is too heavy and tends to get waterlogged, a raised bed or container will be best. The ginger plant prefers a slightly acidic soil pH range of 5.5–6.5
Soilless: Coco coir or well-rotted manure makes a great alternative to soil: their fluffy texture provides an excellent media for rhizome growth.
Hydroponics: Has been grown using a non-circulating hydroponics system with the addition of perlite or coir to serve as a growing medium and the addition of heat to the water.
Aeroponics: As a root crop, the ginger needs some sort of medium to swell and prosper, so the aeroponic growth of ginger must be altered to incorporate a a sturdy structural support such as stryofoam or a metal grate.
Water: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. If you are growing indoors or in a dry climate, mist leaves with water to simulate humidity.
Nutrients: Compost once per year. In cases of heavy rains (which carries nutrients away) or growing indoors, fertilize monthly with kelp and compost.
Foliar: The leaves of ginger do not require outside fertilization.
Pruning: Ginger dies back every winter. Remove dead leaves. Before this, reduce water to let the ground dry and harvest rhizomes OR leave to overwinter for the next season.
Mulching: Hilling, or the piling of soil around the base of the plant, should be implemented 3 times a year. First when the stem of the leaves turn from white to vivid pink, and then twice more in 4-week increments. Use the same soil mixture of sand and compost in which the ginger was planted.
Beneficial bacterial/fungi soil products will combat these and increase yield.
Rotation: The roots of this plant are dug up for consumption, so rotation is naturally achieved. Continue to add compost to sandy plots when planting new rhizomes.
Companions: Basil and tomatoes do well with ginger because of their pest-repelling abilities. Avoid turnips, onions, and other competing root vegetables.
Harvest: Harvest when the weather cools down and the leaves begin to die back, usually about 8 months after being planted. If you are harvesting baby ginger, dig up after 6 months. Cut down on watering to dry the soil and give rhizomes a final plumping. Once all of the leaves have died, your root is mature and ready to be dug up. Separate large healthy ones and save for replanting for the next year. You can also try reburying right away for overwintering.
Storage: Place ginger in a paper bag and refrigerate. Alternatively, wrap in wax paper and place in a plastic container to freeze for up to 3 months.
Flower:The flower of the ginger plant is edible and, when chopped very finely and added to spicy or sour dishes, contributes a flavor unlike any other.
Preserve: Ginger rhizomes can be dried and ground up into a powder that lasts for years. You can also preserve your ginger root in a glass jar with sherry (replace the sherry every month and use old sherry in marinades or sauces), vinegar, oil, or sugar.
Prepare: Fresh ginger is usually grated directly onto dishes or into soups. The root will last fresh up to 3 weeks. Fresh pieces can also be cut and steeped in boiling water for a tea: just add honey and sliced citrus for a more balanced and pleasing flavor. Ginger can also be made into candy by cooking in sugar. A non-alcoholic beer is also made from the dried powdered ginger root. Many Eastern countries incorporate ginger into everyday dishes, using it alongside onion and garlic.
Nutritional: As a spice, ginger’s content of essential vitamins and minerals is negligible.
Medicinal: Ginger is commonly associated with antiemetic properties. Ginger is also a part of the preventative care system to reduce chances of the flu.
Warnings: Excessive consumption can cause heartburn, bloating, and gas. Ginger has been noted to interact with medications such as warfarin.
Ginger Baked Apples are sweet, spicy, tangy and easy to make.
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