Growing Ginger from the Store

Ginger is easy to grow if you can provide it with the right conditions. Generally, ginger will appreciate partial shade, especially if growing in the scorching summer temperature of the Southern US. However, it does appreciate the heat and detests cold nights. It enjoys sandy well-drained soil but also plenty of water and lots of organic matter. While that may sound like a contradiction think of the tropical rainforest climate and volcanic soils of islands in the Pacific. That is what we are trying to simulate.

Ginger grown outside of the tropics will not reach maturity, as this can take over a year. Instead what we produce is baby ginger. Baby ginger is tender, spicy, and sweet. While it doesn't require peeling before use, it doesn't store as long. To get around this, we freeze our baby ginger and grate it on a microplane for use.

To get started I purchase organic ginger hands (the name of a piece of ginger) and sprout them in trays. I highly recommend using organic ginger as it is mostly like to sprout successfully and not have been treated with any chemicals to reduce sprouting. While you can get multiple shoots per hand I recommend planting slightly larger pieces to get the new shoots more resources to get started. Ginger reproduces through rhizomes, not seeds, and can be grown in containers. It's important to start with disease-free ginger stock and provide the right conditions for growth. You can buy certified disease-free stock online though it is more expensive. If you plan on growing for market, propagating, or planting large areas, it may well be worth it. 

Start sprouting your ginger in late winter to have established plants ready to transplant a few weeks after your last frost (remember it hates cold nights). You can leave the ginger in the ground all season but be sure to have it all pulled up before your first frost. The longer you leave it the bigger it will grow. 

To sprout the ginger, press it into a tray of potting soil and keep it in a warm and well-lit area until the tips of the hand begin to swell and produce a shoot. I usually pack a bund of hands in a single try and then break them apart and plant them in 4 or 6" pots to continue growing. 

I generally transplant 2 rows per bed and 2 feet spacing in each row. This looks like a lot of space they they will get HUGE! I then apply drip tap and water daily through the summer if growing in a tunnel. I also keep it well-weeded by hilling soil around the emerging rhizomes. It is generally pest and disease-free, though I have had issues with grasshoppers in the summer. 

Finally, ginger is a heavy feed and will benefit greatly from an application of AZOMITE for trace minerals and feather meal for its nitrogen needs. You can find both here.

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