Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that has been used in the culinary world for centuries. The ginger plant is formed from a rhizome that becomes an ornamental perennial with low flowering. If you want to add flavor and beauty to your vegetable garden, growing ginger is an absolute must.
Ginger has many health benefits and has been used as a medicinal plant since the 16th century. The plant quickly relieves indigestion, nausea and can relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. Really, ginger is a universal and versatile herb that deserves a place in your garden.
Read on for our complete guide on how to care for and maintain ginger plants!
All About Ginger
Ginger is a spicy and pungent tropical plant that bears the botanical name “Zingiber officinale”. Ginger plants are also known as common ginger and kitchen ginger.
Zingiber officinale belongs to the “Zingiberaceae” family – the same family as cardamom and turmeric. The herb is popularly grown in India, Haiti, Nigeria and the United States, especially in Hawaii. But what about the origin of ginger? It is native to Southeast Asia.
The perennial plant can grow up to 3-4 meters high and has elegantly pointed and thin leaves, the length of which varies from 6 to 12 centimeters. The roots extending from the rhizomes are beige and tangled and are about 2 to 6 centimeters long.
The branched rhizomes are thick and warty with a coarse golden to brown outer skin. The skin can be easily peeled off or sanded. The pulp of the roots is light yellow and has a citrus smell like that of lemons. Ginger roots have a pungent, pungent taste.
Young rhizomes normally have a milder flavor, but as they grow and develop, they become more fibrous and tasty. Edible ginger root contains a number of volatile and non-volatile compounds that result in a spicy odor.
Many people ask: “Is ginger a root?”Contrary to popular belief, ginger is actually a rhizome. So, if you grow ginger seedlings, you can expect long tendril-shaped roots that grow from the rhizomes that extend outward.
The shoots of the ginger perennial appear as stems but are actually sheaths of leaves wrapped around each other. The leaves of the plant are medium green in color and long and narrow in shape. They are arranged in pairs of two along each stem.
When To Plant
If you are growing from ginger seeds (also known as rhizomes), start early with your seeds. You want your young plants to come out from the end of February to the beginning of April, and it will take them a while to germinate and start developing.
When planting ginger, it needs warm soil to develop well. 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the minimum soil temperature for development.
If you grow ginger in a container, keep it in a warm place until the frost passes. This allows the ginger roots to settle quickly as soon as they come out. A grow light can provide both light and heat.
Where To Plant
The ginger root is surprisingly delicate. Deciding where to plant is extremely important. Keep in mind that if the weather seems too cold for this tropical, you can always use containers and move them indoors.
In its natural environment, ginger grows well in a warm, humid jungle-like place with sunlight filtering through the trees. Try to recreate its natural environment as much as possible. Select a place where you can prepare and loosen the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches and with room to spread it.
Ginger needs slightly acidic soil to grow and for the rhizomes to fully develop. The ideal soil pH ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. The best soils are loam and sand. Loamy and sandy soils are loose and allow faster drainage while retaining moisture so that the roots establish well. A mixture of the two will work just fine.
The main thing for the soil mixture is to be able to retain moisture in order to keep it available for the rhizomes. Add compost before planting, as it can also absorb and retain moisture for your rhizome.
A balanced NPK fertilizer 5:5:5 is perfect for your ginger. Add fertilizer to your soil a few days before planting and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for when to add more. This is usually every few months for a slow-release fertilizer.
Although you can use liquid fertilizers from time to time, they are usually not as good as a granular organic fertilizer for your ginger. If you choose to use a liquid fertilizer, apply it every 2 to 4 weeks.
A large piece of ginger can be stored as a “hand” in a dry and cool place as long as it has its skin. Be sure to keep it completely dry for better storage. It will last this way for a few weeks, as long as it is kept dry and in the dark. A paper bag works great for this.
For longer-term storage, peel the peel from the carrots and grate or cut into thin slices. These can be stored in the freezer. I like to grate teaspoon-sized amounts into a small ice cube tray to freeze with just a tiny bit of water to bind them together, because it allows me to use them in recipes. Once completely frozen, place these ginger cubes in a freezer bag.
Avoid overwatering your ginger. Excess water can provoke the development of root rot. Even if it does not rot, the roots will not be as tasty if they have been watered too much.
Those who live in colder climates should bring their plants indoors or harvest before the weather drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This species simply does not tolerate frozen soil at all.
Ginger is also prone to bacterial wilting and root rot. Bacterial wilting causes water-soaked spots and curled leaves. The only way to treat it is to remove damaged leaves and stems and carefully inspect the entire plant for signs or symptoms. If necessary, apply a fungicide or biological bactericide.