To be successful in Growing Ginger you need to be aware and remember that it is a tropical plant and therefore will flourish in tropical type condition such as rich moist soil, warmth, humidity and dappled sunlight.
Ginger is very susceptible to direct sun, frost, strong winds and water logged soil.
The easiest way to start growing ginger is to obtain a fresh root from a super market in the spring. Make sure you select a good plump root and look for those that have developed growth buds, ‘eyes‘.
Soak the roots in water overnight to remove any of the growth retardants that may have been used by the commercial growers.
To improve chances of success the soil has to be rich enough to feed the ginger. Mix 1 part compost with 1 part of sandy garden soil, by using this mixture it will ensure that the growing medium is free draining, yet holds moisture and gives nutrients. If your garden soil is heavy it is advisable to make a raised bed for planting.
Plant the ginger in late winter or early spring, making sure you chose a site that is not in full sun and protected from the wind. Plant approximately 8cm deep, with the growing buds facing upwards. Plant 15cm apart; as the root grows underground it does not mind being crowed. Gradually over time the clump will become dense and bigger and bigger unless it’s harvested.
While growing ginger needs lots of moisture, care must be taken never to let the soil dry out, but over watering will take any nutrients away with it. Use a thick covering of mulch to help retain moisture; this will also keep the weeds at bay. Spraying or misting is required if the air is too dry, ginger thrives in humidity, but careful positioning should ensure that these requirements are naturally met.
If you live in area that has heavy rains you will need to replace the nutrients into the ground which the rains have washed away. Dig in slow release organic fertilizer when planting and after that use organic liquid fertilizers such as fish fertilizer every few weeks.
When the weather starts to cool down at the end of the summer the plant will start to die down, you must stop watering and let the ground dry out, this will encourage the plant to form its rhizomes (the real name that we all call ginger ‘root’ is in fact the rhizome).
The ginger is ready to harvest once all the leaves have died down.
You can harvest the ginger root when it is green, at about 4 months old, but this will have less favor than the matured root, the root will be mature between 8-10 months after planting. It is advisable, however, to let the plant establish itself by not harvesting the first year.
Depending where you live your ginger may not survive the winter, bring it in side if possible and let it dry out, otherwise it will rot, and if you are very lucky you may be able to re-start Growing Ginger the following spring.