Because of it’s appearance, the ginger root may seem like a mysteriously difficult herb to grow. However, with a low amount of sunlight, this plant is pretty easy to grow. So, if you have indoor space or a shaded area to grow ginger, then this is one profitable herb you can harvest all year round.
There are many varieties of ginger. But today, we’ll talk about the most common edible type, Zingiber officinale which you can grow ginger from the actual root. When choosing, look for roots that are free of wrinkles and plump, with visible small points, preferably those that have started to turn green. It’s best to avoid ginger from the stores as they are sprayed with chemicals.
Preparing you for ginger root for planting
Firstly, cut the ginger into 2.5cm (minimum size) pieces using a sanitized knife or shears. Ensure that each piece has a small point called an eye that can grow into a separate plant. A piece with more than three eyes is more likely to sprout. Then, to allow the pieces to heal, leave them in a dry place about 20cm apart for a few days. What happens during this period is that, they form a protective callus over the cut surface, which helps reduce the risk of infection.
Planting your ginger
Ginger thrives in deep, enriched, sandy loam (well-draining) soil with a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5 pH. Temperature should also be 22–25ºC. Because ginger prefers areas with morning sun only (two to five hours of direct sunlight per day), away from large roots and swampy areas, you have to choose your planting area carefully. Click here to read about growing in crates.
Ginger plants and okra help each other and therefore are great for companion planting. Plant one ginger next to each okra seed/plant, on the opposite side of the sun.
Add well-rotted compost into your soil before planting. If you choose to plant and transplant, it’s important to note that transplanting period is very traumatic for the plant. This should happen once leaves and roots form.
Plant each piece of ginger 5–10 cm below loose soil, with the eyes pointing upward. And, if you’ll be planting in rows, keep each piece atleast 20 cm apart.
Growing your ginger
It’s important to keep the soil damp but not swampy. Very wet soil can cause your plants to rot. So, check the soil daily and water lightly just before it dries out completely. Ginger grows slowly. If you’re lucky, it can sprout in a few days if you’re lucky, but you have to keep watering for a few weeks before giving up on the plant. This watering technique should continue even after germination.
If your soil is mixed with well-rotten compost, you don’t have to fertilize. But to be on the safe side, you can have your soil tested. And, if it’s not rich, then you can fertilize monthly to increase yield. If you choose to grow in the months of June and July, then you’ll have to add a thick layer of mulch to keep the plants warm.
The ginger plant might not flower the first year or two after planting. As soon as you see new shoots coming up to the side of the main plant, you can start harvesting young ginger. this is about 3–4 months after planting. However, allow the plant mature before harvesting. When it matures in the ground, it develops a much stronger flavor.
Let soil dry as the stems die back. The stems of the ginger plant will turn yellow. Reduce water as this happens, and stop watering entirely once the stems die. After the stems die, about 8 months after planting, dig up the whole pant, harvest the bulk of the roots and save a few for replanting.