by Dianne Weyna
My experience with buying ginger root from the grocery store is that I use a small piece from the large piece I buy, and the rest either starts to grow or goes bad. I researched growing ginger and found you could harvest just part of the root to use and leave the rest growing — a perfect solution. When buying ginger, make sure it's organic and has lots of buds. Cut a piece with a few buds from the rhizome, dry it for a few days, then place it in a pot of good organic soil with good drainage. Cover them with about an inch of soil and water sparingly until the rhizome sprouts. From then forward, keep the area wet, but not soaking. I place the pot raised above the a catchment and water a little every day. They need 2-6 hours of direct sun a day, the rest indirect light. It can be harvested in four to six months. Low nitrogen fertilizer, such as 10-20-20 is recommended once a month. I have harvested a small amount so far, and the ginger is milder than what you get in the store. The older the ginger is, the stronger it gets. The leaves and stems are also edible, mildly smelling and tasting like ginger and can be used as a garnish or in cooking.
Edible ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an herbaceous perennial that originated in Asia and is one of the oldest and widely known spices used in cooking. Wild ginger, the family of (Aristolochiaceae, genera, Asarum) is toxic and not edible. It grows in USDA zone 9-12, Sunset zone 9, 14-24. Soil temps should be 68-77 degrees. It was suggested to place a plant in an area that is consistently wet, but drains. If it is in a cold and wet condition it's susceptible to root rot.
I also grew Turmeric (Curcuma longa) which is in the ginger family and is a prettier plant, in my opinion. Follow the same steps to grow it by cutting out the buds, drying it, placing it in good organic soil, keeping it moist, not wet, and fertilize monthly. The harvest time is longer, eight to ten months. At that time, you can harvest the whole plant, keeping a few buds to replant. I have kept my plants in 5-gallon containers, but they would grow heavier in a larger pot.
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References: Plants.ces.ncsu.edu, NC.coop.ext.,
Missouribotanicalgarden.org, Sunset Western Garden, SFgate 5/21, “your indoor herbs”
UC master gardeners Santa Clara Co, UVM.edu.
Photos: Turmeric, Max Pixel CC0, public domain; Ginger, Pixabay