If you want to grow your own ginger at home, all you need is a large pot and you’re ready to start germinating the rhizomes.
Some herbs grow well even when grown in containers at home. Ginger happens to be one of them. It is a popular ingredient in delicious Asian dishes and countless popular cookies and cakes – and it can also be easily grown in pots. The truth is that it is so easy to care for that we encourage all gardeners who love the special, unique taste of ginger to try this simple gardening project. If you do everything right, you can add home-grown fresh ginger to your dishes in no time.
How to plant ginger
The healthiest potted ginger plants can be obtained from reliable plant shops and garden stores, or can be ordered online. Or you can buy ginger rhizomes (underground stems) in larger local grocery stores and markets. Rhizomes purchased at grocery stores may be coated with an anti-sprouting agent that prevents them from sprouting in the store. They may also have been treated with fungicides and/or insecticides, so you better clean your ginger: soak the new ginger tubers in water for 24 hours before cutting them up for planting.
Choose a wide, shallow planting container. Ginger roots grow horizontally, so width is more important than depth in this case. Containers that are small enough to be easily moved indoors and out are ideal for ginger. Fill the pot with nutrient-rich soil with good drainage.
Slice the ginger rhizomes into thin pieces. Choose pieces that have “eyes”. These are small indentations on the surface of the rhizome where it will sprout. Place the pieces of rhizomes in the pot filled with soil, with the eyes facing upwards, and cover them with soil about 4 cm thick.
How to care for ginger
Water the plant abundantly the first time after planting. Water regularly or spray the soil with water to keep it moist (but not soggy). Be patient: it may take several weeks for the ginger to sprout.
Keep the ginger indoors during the cold months. In warm periods, it can be taken outdoors, but remember: frost can be fatal for it. Place the container in a spot where it receives diffused light.
In about eight months, the ginger plant becomes fully developed, at which time you can divide its rhizomes into several pieces. Simply plant the new plants in new pots filled with potting mix. It can also be a great gift to surprise your friends who love gardening and cooking.
How to “harvest” ginger
Although the plant may need several months to fully develop, you can start harvesting when the plant is three or four months old. Pushing aside the soil around the rhizomes, you will see that the surface of the rhizomes is rough and bumpy. You will also see the root hairs growing sideways and downwards from the rhizomes. The rhizome is the edible part of the ginger. Remove the roots when you clean the rhizomes for eating.
To get a small piece of delicious ginger, simply remove the soil from it and cut off one of its finger-like extensions. In this way, you can “harvest” ginger whenever you want. If you grow several pots of ginger plants at the same time, you can alternately cut off one piece of the rhizomes from different pots.
Before eating ginger, wash it and peel it with a potato peeler. Afterwards, you can enjoy its taste freshly sliced or grated. You can dry ginger sliced paper-thin by placing it on baking paper. You can dry it in the oven or outdoors in a dry, sunny place. It can take from a few hours to several days to dry. After it has completely dried, store it in plastic bags. You can also grind dried ginger with a coffee grinder. This is how ginger becomes the tasty result of an easy-to-implement gardening project!