Ginger In The Garden

The plant is grown not for its foliage, but for the flavorful, pungent root, known as ginger root. Its root-like, subterranean stalks are the part of the plant that produces the ginger spice that we enjoy. Your ginger plant will grow to be as tall as four feet, with a lot of roots appearing above ground, which is a natural trait of this kind of plant.

In rocky soil, try growing your ginger in an elevated bed with at least an eight-inch-deep soil mix. Once your ginger has started producing leaves, consider applying a mulch over the top of the soil.

As your ginger plants grow, keep them in a cool, partly shaded area, and water them regularly, making sure that your compost stays only slightly moist. You can plant a pot with your ginger plant and keep it growing like a houseplant, or even outdoors during summer months, taking care that it is not exposed to the cold winds. If you live in a colder climate, you might want to consider treating ginger like a houseplant in cold growing seasons.

While ginger can be planted and grown all year long in tropical areas, cooler climates experience shorter growing seasons. As a tropical plant, ginger only grows well in hot, humid weather.

In tropical climates, ginger can be grown completely shaded, but those in colder climates should aim to get between 2 to 5 hours of sun per day on their ginger. Ginger produces best when given a couple hours of sunlight a day, but will also grow in full shade.

The ginger can grow in deep shade, but will not grow as fast, nor produce as many rhizomes to harvest. This plant cannot tolerate temperatures under 50F, at which point it will become dormant and cease growing altogether. If you are planting in growing zones where ginger can thrive, the ginger will become dormant in winter months, caused by reduced light and cooler temperatures.

Leaves will turn yellow and start dying off, which indicates that the plant is waiting for warmer weather to re-grow, just like in its native region. This typically happens as ginger receives less sunlight and cooling temperatures, which signals ginger to grow multiple rhizomes in order to start to build up its strength for the winter months. Ginger is one of those plants that cannot afford to let itself get dry too long -- once a rhizome is damaged, the plant will have trouble growing and spreading.

If you would like to let the plant grow, but you still want to harvest a few root pieces for ginger use, you can take part of the rhizome. Depending on how much you would like the ginger greens in your garden, you have the option to chop up your rhizome into several pieces.

To harvest ginger grown in indoor pots, pull out the whole plant, cut a section of ginger root, and plant the remaining rhizome. Another alternative is to plant the ginger in soil outside, but pull the rhizome out once the weather starts getting colder. In colder climates, you will have to sprout rhizomes in an enclosed space first before planting. For indoor plants, put pieces of ginger root into a pot large enough for your growing rhizome.

To grow ginger indoors, buy fresh ginger rhizomes at plant nurseries or from seed companies. Look for a place to plant your ginger that gets natural shading, or provides shading to your growing ginger. Grow flowering gingers in well-drained, moist garden soil, either in part-shade locations, or where there is filtered sunlight throughout the day. Although most flowering gingers are too big to grow as indoor plants, you can hold them in your greenhouse or greenhouse, or plant them on a shaded deck or patio.

Wild gingers thrive in full or partial shade, and they burn if planted in direct sunlight. Wild gingers can be used as groundcovers under trees, and as a taller front-of-plant cover in larger plantings. The gingers are best planted well away from larger roots, ideally in an area protected from wind and moisture.

Fortunately, ginger does not need nearly as much direct sunlight as some other edible plants, making it perfect for partially shaded gardens, or even growing indoors. For gardeners with tree-covered landscapes, ginger is one of the few crops that likes some shade. In extreme heat, more shade is much better than less to keep the sun off your ginger, while keeping your soil moist.

In its natural environment, ginger grows best in warm, moist, jungle-like conditions where the sun filters through trees. Ginger requires warm, tropical temperatures and humidity for effective growth, which means that it is best grown outside in USDA zone 9-12.

If you would rather cultivate your ginger in soil, there are two perennial varieties that thrive well in northern climates. Ginger is best planted in the spring, but it can be planted anytime if grown in warmer climates. Ginger planting is best done outdoors at the end of spring or beginning of summer, but it can be done indoors at the end of winter or beginning of spring. Plant outside after the last freeze date, and as the soil warms up in spring.

Gardeners who are simply looking for a compelling container plant may want to find one that is blooming and is attractive to them, since all tropical gingers flourish under similar growing conditions. You will want to select a fairly large container, since some ginger plants can grow up to 36 inches across. Ginger needs lots of space to grow, so plant each chunk 12 inches apart, between two and four inches deep, with the buds pointed up.

While ginger technically grows in a garden bed, we recommend using a container to get better, easier results. The ginger that we eat is actually that plants stalk, or rhizome, which is a sort of thick stalk that grows horizontally underground, or into soil. Note that rhizomes in ginger require a minimum of 10 months of warm temperatures in order to grow, and a minimum of several months above 70 degrees F. in order to make flowers.

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