Growing Ginger from Root (Rhizomes) Experiment

ginger rhizomeTime to plant my ginger.  I don’t want to wait that long from when my ginger rhizomes arrived before I plant them.  I’ve read several different posts on growing ginger, I’ll link to several of them at the end.

Experiment?  Yes.  I’ve never grown ginger (Zingiber officinale) before.  You have to start somewhere, I’m experimenting with growing ginger in containers.  Another year I’ll try growing them in the ground too.  I can’t say I’m an expert in growing the stuff, I’ve never even tried it before.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a tropical perennial herb.  It does not tolerate cold, in fact it is happier if the soil temperature stays above 55 degrees F. Ginger also requires partial sun, lots of humidity in moist, well drained, rich soil.  It is related to the banana.  People have been growing and using ginger for years, as far back as China in 400 BC.  Today 50% of the ginger grown comes from India.

From what I’ve read, I believe that it is possible for anyone to grow ginger in a container for personal use and enjoyment. The warmer your climate, the more outdoor days it will get.  Our August’s triple digit temps may be a little hot for it.  Whether it is feasible to grow baby ginger locally for a profit remains to be seen.  As hard as it was to find organic ginger rhizomes, I believe there is a market for starts for home grown ginger.

cut ginger rhizomesFirst I cut my ginger rhizome into smaller pieces, several “eyes” or growth buds per piece. (See the white pointed spots on the rhizomes.) One site said to wipe your knife with alcohol before and between each cut.  Another suggested you leave your cuts open to the air for a day or two before planting, giving time for the ends to seal over, less likely to rot.  I don’t know if that is necessary, but it is so easy to do, why not?

growth budNext I found some large pots in my shed for my ginger.  Before planting, I cleaned my pots so my plants don’t have to deal with any issues the previous plants may have had.  Read the post on cleaning and reusing pots for your garden.

Then I filled my pots with planting material.  I could have chosen smaller pots for pre-sprouting.  Since mine are staying in containers, I’m using those same containers, no need to transplant to larger containers down the road.  I’m trying 2 different kinds of soil.  One is a miracle potting mix called Moisture Control Potting Mix, it is left over from some I had earlier.  The next is simply half compost and half sandy garden soil.

As ginger loves lots of nutrients, I added a fertilizer to balance out anything missing in the compost.  I’m using Espoma’s Plant-Tone, an organic fertilizer with microbes available locally.  It may not be necessary.  As part of my ginger experiment, I have 2 pots of ginger with the half sandy soil and half compost mixture.  One will have the organic fertilizer, the other won’t.  If it becomes clear that the organic fertilizer one is doing much better, I’ll also feed the 2nd pot.

place ginger rhizome in potI added my planting medium to the pots, filling most of the way.  I added water so it’d be damp.  Then I placed the rhizomes on top of the soil, added another inch or two of soil, watered again.  Goal is to have all the soil moist, but not a soggy mess.

Now to keep my ginger pots warm and wait for the shoots to sprout.  If need be I can check on them, but should take 6 weeks or so.  I’ll keep you posted.

Growing Ginger Links

Zingiber officinale

Growing Ginger-A Tropical Plant-Adaptable in Certain Circumstances  Bea Kuntz of Sage Hill Farms on growing ginger

Growing Edible Ginger

Presprouting Ginger  first of several articles on growing ginger by East Branch Ginger

Growing Ginger Root 

The Search for Organic Ginger Root

Warm Up with Ginger Tea





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