What is ginger?
Ginger is a subtropical plant of East Asian origins. It is a cousin of turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, which belong to the Zingiberaceae family. However, there are two types of ginger: ornamental and edible. The ornamental one is grown for its beautiful blooms and foliage, and the edible ginger is grown for its roots (rhizomes). To successfully grow ginger in central Texas there are a few easy steps to follow.
When is best time to plant ginger in central Texas?
Ginger thrives in warm and humid climates. It tends to rot if the soil is constantly wet and dry out if the humidity is too low. In central Texas, the best time to plant ginger is Spring. Warm temperatures and occasional rain provide a great almost tropical environment for it to grow.
Where should I grow ginger?
Can I grow ginger in the ground?
You can grow ginger in the ground if the native soil is light and well-draining. Central Texas soil varies widely from one area to the other, which makes it hard to decide. Heavy clay and rocky soils are really hard to work with. Ginger prefers loamy and rich soil that does maintain moisture without being soggy.
Another reason that makes growing ginger in the ground difficult is the occasional harsh winter. Being a tropical plant, ginger does not survive temperatures lower than 50F (10C).
Can I grow ginger in pots?
Growing ginger in pots is ideal in central Texas to avoid dealing with the native soil. By planting in pots, you can use light and well-draining soil that is suitable for tropical plants. It also ensures a period of dryness in between waterings, which ginger root appreciates.
Can I grow ginger in raised beds?
If you need to grow a lot of ginger roots, raised beds may be a good option for you. They are technically big bottomless containers so you can control soil quality and moisture.
Can I plant store-bought ginger root?
Yes, you can. Make sure is fresh and blemish-free. Look for small pale and pointy shoots on the sides ( like shown on the picture). Those are the sprouting buds.
The right soil for growing ginger
Pre-sprouting ginger root
Some gardeners do suggest pre-sprouting the ginger root in warm water for a day before planting. This allows the buds to emerge a bit faster. However, this does not seem to be necessary if you maintain an even moisture level on the soil after planting.
How deep should I plant ginger?
Although we grow ginger for its roots ( stems), it does not like to be buried deep in the soil. Lay the rhizome flat on the surface and cover it with a half-inch of soil. If some of it peeks out after watering that is ok. The sprouts should appear within two weeks or so.
How often should I water my ginger plant?
Water your ginger once a week or when the soil feels dry after inserting your finger an inch deep.
Should I fertilize my ginger plant?
For best growth and good root formation, feed your ginger plant with a low nitrogen fertilizer. Look for the middle and last numbers to be the highest in the packaging. Apply according to directions once or twice a month.
How long does it take for ginger to be ready for harvest?
Ginger requires a long warm growing time of 8-10 months to reach its mature size. However, you can harvest from the root any time you wish during the growing time. Lift the plant from the soil, break the root you need to use, then replant the remaining. Water immediately to prevent transplant shock.
How do I know my ginger is ready for harvest?
When the ginger root reaches its maturity, the blooms start to fade, the stem and the leaves turn yellow then topple down.
How to harvest the ginger root?
To harvest the ginger root, first, lift it from the soil. Shake excess soil and cut off the dead foliage and lateral roots. Then wash it thoroughly before use.
Can I replant the harvested ginger root?
Yes, you can restart the process and grow more ginger from your harvested roots. Make sure to follow the steps mentioned previously.
Storing ginger root
Short-term ginger storage
To store fresh ginger, wrap it with plastic wrap firmly, and keep it refrigerated. It can last for two to three weeks.
Long-term ginger storage
For longer-term storage, there are a few options:
- You may cut the ginger root into thin slices, then dehydrate them.
- Grate or process the fresh ginger into a paste, then store it in a canning jar. ( Use proper cannig process)
- Freeze whole ginger roots or grate them and fill up an ice cube tray. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag.
Ginger’s nutritional value and medicinal properties
Ginger paste and powder are commonly used in East Asian and African dishes. It is also used for medicinal purposes. The most common use is ginger lemon tea to relieve nausea and indigestion.
Ginger paste is also used to reduce swelling and pain of the joints. According to Healthline, Gingerol, the main component of ginger, has great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help relieve these symptoms.