Grow Ginger

If you love the zingy tang of ginger in your cooking, then think about growing your own
By Roger Fox

Ginger plants grow readily from a piece of root, either in a garden bed or large pot. The plants die down in winter, before shooting back in spring, when a whole crop of new rhizomes (the edible roots) will start to develop underground. After that you harvest them as needed.

Planting tips

Start with a healthy piece of ginger root, and cut it into 5cm-long pieces, using a sharp knife. The knobbly sections on each piece are the ‘eyes’, from which the leaves will sprout. Plant the pieces about 5-10cm deep and 20cm apart in loose crumbly soil with a little compost mixed through. Water regularly and you should see shoots start to emerge within four weeks or so. Plants do best in warmer climates, in a spot with filtered sunlight (they’re not frost tolerant). In terms of harvesting, just dig up sections of root from established plants, as you need them.

Pot growing

For flourishing potted ginger, choose a large diameter pot – at least 30-40cm across – so you’ll get a good crop of roots to harvest. Partially fill with good-quality potting mix, place in the ginger pieces, then cover them with 5-10cm of mix. Once the plants are well developed, simply harvest root pieces as you need them. Or, you can tip the whole clump out when it dies back during winter and preserve your ginger crop in plastic bags in the freezer.

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