Learning how to grow ginger is easy. In fact, some homesteaders get to enjoy pounds of ginger root during harvest season without ever having to do anything more than basic gardening maintenance.
Step-by-Step Guide to Planting and Caring for a Ginger Plant
Step 1: Prepare the Ginger Root and Soil
The first thing you need to do is to prepare your ginger root and soil. Sourcing them isn’t that hard.
You can get them at almost any store that has a gardening section. The problem is choosing which ones to use.
Sourcing Your Ginger
There are many species of gingers, but not all of them are edible. For example, the ginger plants you see at daycare centers and nurseries are purely ornamental and are not suitable for consumption.
Meanwhile, the ones you find at grocery stores are 100% edible. Just make sure you choose fat, wrinkle-free organic roots because there are ones that have been treated with growth inhibitors.
Pro Tip: Not sure if the roots you’re buying are organic or not? Submerge them in warm water for 24 hours prior to planting to stimulate proper growth.
Sourcing Your Soil
Your soil shouldn’t be too dry or the stems will die. At the same time, you can’t submerge the roots in waterlogged, mud-like soil or they won’t grow.
Generally, moist, high-quality, and well-draining types of soil are the best option for your ginger plant. This includes soil with a loam- or sand-like consistency.
Pro Tip: Ginger sprouts at around 70°F. If your garden soil is too cold, you might have to use a heat mat on your ginger plants.
Step 2: Choose Where to Plant Your Ginger
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You can’t just place your ginger plant anywhere you want to. Ginger plants grow best in warm temperatures. As we said, you’ll have to use heat pads if you live in a cold area.
Pro Tip: Don’t have a garden? No worries! You can keep your ginger plants indoors. In fact, these root crops thrive in warm environments where you have control over the air temperature.
Step 3: Plant the Ginger Root
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Now it’s time for the real grunt work: planting the ginger roots. Firstly, if you want to grow multiple plants, cut the roots into small pieces.
Make sure to use a clean knife because dirt, germs, and bacteria can impede the growth of your ginger plant. Also, keep the pieces no smaller than 1 inch. Each piece of root needs to have at least three eyes in order to sprout properly.
Next, leave the ginger slices to dry out in the sun for a few days. Doing so will allow the ginger roots to form a protective callus that will prevent harmful infections.
Once the roots are dry, it’s time to plant them. Dig a hole that’s around two to four inches deep and then carefully place the roots in. Make sure the buds are pointing upward.
Carefully cover the hole with soil, pat gently, and then repeat as many times as needed. Maintain a safe distance of about 8 to 12 inches between each plant to give each bud room to sprout.
Step 4: Perform Regular Gardening Maintenance and Upkeep
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Ginger plants are generally pretty low maintenance. Perhaps your most important task is to keep the soil most and damp, but not too soggy.
You need to hit the magic spot where the soil gets the right amount of dampness, sunlight, and oxygen. Otherwise, your ginger roots will rot.
Pro Tip: Only water your ginger plant about once a week. Any more than that and your roots will be at risk of drowning.
When it comes to daily maintenance, your main job would be to keep track of germination. Ginger grows at a relatively slow pace, about 8 to 10 months until they’re ready for harvesting, so don’t expect the bud to sprout until after a few days.
Pro Tip: Don’t be too quick to give up on your ginger plant. Allot at least one to two months before deciding your roots are dead.
Extra Ginger Plant Care Reminders
Fertilize your soil at least once every month, especially if you’re using low-quality soil. Also, you can lay down a layer of mulch on your soil once the ginger bud has sprouted. This will keep it warm.
When it comes to weeds, you might not have a problem with them if you're using garden beds and pots. If you're planting them in an open area, however, make sure you scout the area daily to get rid of unwanted weed growth. Otherwise, they'll hoard all the precious soil nutrients.
Step 5: Reduce Water to Dry Out the Soil until the Stems Die
After 8 months from planting your ginger roots, keep an eye out for the stems to see if they’ve already turned yellow. Stem yellowing indicates that they’re almost ready for harvesting.
Once the stems have yellowed, completely stop watering your ginger plants. Wait for the stems to dry out before you harvest the roots. This practice is done to help the ginger mature properly and develop a richer flavor and more aromatic scent.
When you’re ready to harvest the ginger, dig up the ginger rhizome — the ginger’s edible parts — and leave out the eyes of the root. That way, the stems can continue to sprout.
Added Tips on How to Grow Ginger Root Properly
Here are some extra tips and tricks on growing ginger you might find useful:
- Young gingers are harvested three to four months after planting ginger roots. These are often used for pickling.
- When watering your ginger plant, the idea is to water sparingly and deeply.
- Homesteaders who live in cooler climates should consider planting their ginger roots early in the spring.
Learn 10 of the most common health benefits of ginger from Brainy Dose:
Overall, ginger is a popular superfood that provides plenty of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties, can relieve an upset stomach, control morning sickness, and even alleviate nervousness, so learning how to grow ginger is definitely a good idea.
If you live in a large homestead with a nice, warm climate, feel free to plant the ginger anywhere you want. For those who live in a cold city, on the other hand, you should consider keeping your ginger indoors in pots or garden beds.
Where you able to grow your own ginger? Maybe you can share your tips and tricks in the comment section below.
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