Thursday, November 15, 2012
Just pick up a root from your grocery store’s produce section and get growing!
Because ginger root tubers grow right near the soil surface, don’t bury them when you transplant them to your garden.
Simply lay the ginger root on the top of the potting soil to “plant” it.
Pull the roots from the ground and allow them to dry in the open air before removing the stalks and harvesting.
Ginger root is sold in a clump that’s often called a “hand.” You’ll want to choose a hand that’s fresh and firm with as many “fingers” as possible. To get as many plants as you can, cut or break the fingers off the main root. Each section with a growing tip will become a plant. Be sure to allow any cut surfaces to dry before planting them in moist soil.
Planting is easy as pie: Simply pick a pot that’s at least twice the diameter as the length of your root section. Fill it ¾ full with standard potting soil, and place the small root sections on the soil surface. Water it well. Your plant will survive dry spells, but to get the most consistent growth, keep it damp at all times. Place your ginger pot in a spot where it’ll stay warm. There’s no need to find a sunny spot on your windowsill. At this stage, your ginger actually grows better without direct sunshine. Before you know it, you’ll see sprouts.
Studies say ginger’s peak flavor arrives at 265 days. (And if you start the ginger inside in late winter, that one root can produce four times that amount by fall!) But you’ll only get this long growing season by starting your ginger indoors as a houseplant early in the year and then transplanting it in your garden in late spring, once the weather’s warmed. When moving your ginger to your garden, choose a spot with rich, loose soil, and be sure to water it regularly. There aren’t many pests or diseases to worry about. And occasionally, you might get a nice surprise: Your ginger plant may produce yellowish flowers at the base of each stem.
With proper care, your ginger can reach 2-4 feet tall. It’ll have narrow, glossy, green leaves that can be up to a foot long. Its roots can be harvested at any time, but you should let the plant grow for at least three to four months before harvesting. You’ll be able to see the ginger roots growing near the surface of the soil. To harvest them, just trim off small sections whenever you need them, while the rest of the plant continues to grow. The new roots that grow from the starter root will have the best flavor and texture. The old starter root should be tossed out at the end of the season.
Posted by Judith at 4:43 PM