Growing Your Own Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) needs rich, well-drained, moist soil and plenty of indirect sunlight and water. It is frost-sensitive, and mostly grown in the subtropics and tropics. It will grow from a healthy piece of root planted in spring.

Make sure you get ginger roots which already have some new buds cropping out, or else they probably won’t grow. The look like little fresh outcrops. I have seen some plants which have been in pots for years. The root sticks out of the soil and needs very little water, or else it will rot. You can speed the process up by planting the root to a shallow depth in a small pot, then covering the pot with a plastic bag and placing it on a sunny windowsill.

When you notice the first shoots, remove the plastic bag. You can plant in the garden at this point, or leave in a pot. Place it in a location that gets indirect sunlight and give it water regularly. Given proper growing conditions, the stems will reach two to four feet tall with narrow, glossy green leaves that can get up to a foot long.

Bring the plant indoors before winter and store in a cool, dark place and ignore until spring. The foilage will die back and soil will dry out but should bounce back when returned to the outside the following spring.. Occasionally, your ginger will produce yellowish-green with a purple lip marked yellow flower, although this is rarely seen.

Rhizomes may be harvested at any time, but should be allowed to grow for at least three to four months before taking your first harvest. Harvest your ginger in autumn when the leaves have died down.

Ginger is usually sun-dried after harvesting to help preserve it, then stored in a well-ventilated, dry cupboard or in the fridge.