How I Grow Organic Ginger At Home
- Oct 07, 2018
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Ginger is undoubtedly a must-have in any Filipino home kitchen. Its powerful flavor makes it an indispendable ingredient, from soups to stir-fries, and even for brewing tea. We all use ginger in local dishes like bulalo, tinola, paksiw, and arroz caldo. Did you also know that its leaves and stalk can also be used, instead of the root, that is, if you want to get a milder or less of that strong pungent taste in your dish? Ginger also has many healthful uses for the home gardener, including as anti-inflammation, anti-oxidant, anti-nausea, regulation of blood sugar, anti-cholesterol, among others. So wouldn’t it be great if you can grow your own organic ginger at home?
How to Start
What I love about growing your own ginger is that you can start from a store-bought ginger root (or rhizome) anytime. When buying in the grocery, choose a nice plump piece of ginger root (Note: Ginger is actually a rhizome, but for this blog, I will also refer to it as a “root”). Soak the root for 24 hours to get rid of any chemical that had been sprayed on these roots that could prevent sprouting. Break the rhizome into several pieces, and watch out for the indentations or the ‘eyes’ where the buds will come out. In a few days, you will notice tiny buds sprouting, a sign that the root is ready to grow new shoots.
Since the rhizome grows sideways, you will need a wide or elongated and shallow container of around 8-10 inches in depth. The pot should have good drainage to prevent root rot, and filled with a good mixture of compost and potting mix. Place each piece on the soil bed with the eyes facing downwards, and cover lightly with an inch of compost or vermicast. You can grow more than one plant per pot, but make sure to provide a 12-inch space in between. The soil should always be moist, and water deeply when the soil feels dry.
Care and Maintenance
Ginger does not require a lot of sun. In fact, the plant can get stressed from too much sun exposure. So place the container in an area that gets some partial, indirect sunlight or dappled shade only. Make sure that the soil is always moist, but not soggy. It is not prone to pests, because its strong smell repels most insects.
You need to cut some of the stalks/ leaves from time to time, so the plant can focus on growing its rhizomes, more than growing leaves. Do not discard the stalks and leaves, as they can also be used like an herb spice for culinary purposes. Add compost-rich material every other month. Occasionally, you can fertillized with fish scraps and banana peels to encourage bigger bulbs.
Your ginger root will be ready for harvest in about 6 – 8 months. The leaves will turn yellowish brown or wilted, signalling that the rhizomes have already formed. You can dig up the whole rhizome or just a portion that you need, and it will continue to grow more bulbs for a continued supply of ginger all year round. Upon harvesting, cut the stems and wash the fresh ginger root thoroughly. You can use freshly harvested ginger immediately, or simply store it inside the refrigerator. You may also harvest the leaves and stalks, and use them the same way that you would use chopped green onions as topping, or along with garlic and onion for sauteing.