Growing & Harvesting Ginger is one of the most rewarding annual activities. There is nothing like fresh ginger that you grow yourself–pale yellow-pink, juicy, and loaded with fresh flavor. Ultimately, there is no comparison to its dried-out and woody evil twin in the grocery store, whose skin is grey-brown and its flesh is stringy and somewhat dried. I encourage you to give it a try this spring. Involve the children and enJOY not only the best-flavored ginger you have ever had but save on the pocketbook as well.
Each spring, I head to our local farmer’s market to purchase my herbs, such as lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Additionally, I purchase a ginger and turmeric plant to nurture over the summer and into the fall. We have a vendor who sells his harvested ginger at $15 each. Ultimately, I was willing to pay because the difference between freshly harvested ginger and the stuff you get in the store is night and day. But you can imagine my excitement when I discovered how easy and fun it was to grow our own ginger and enJOY ALL the harvest, all year.
Ginger is a Rhizome
Ginger and turmeric are what are called rhizomes. Rhizomes are plants that grow horizontally underground, producing a stem or shoot as well as a root system for another plant. They are fascinating to grow because they start from one rhizome and multiply tightly together underground. In the fall, you dig up your plants to discover all the unseen action that has been going on all spring and summer and into the fall. Ginger grows best in deep and wide pots, allowing for multiplication. Use a rich, organic potting soil like FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil to boost nutrients and promote a healthy start.
Ready For Harvest
Ginger is ready to harvest 8-9 months after planting when the leaves start to yellow and die. If you purchase a plant already potted, you can harvest around November or December. Just remember that ginger is a tropical plant, so bring it indoors if there is a danger of frost.
Harvest All or As Needed
As the ginger matures, you can dig around the base of the stem and find the rhizomes that are ready to harvest. If you prefer only to harvest as needed, begin removing the outer roots and work your way in. Ultimately, I prefer to harvest the whole pot, clean it, and freeze it for use throughout the year. Additionally, save a rhizome to start another plant for spring. Keep it protected and watered indoors, and it will be ready to start the process all over again next year.
Watch a Quick Teaser of the Growing & Harvesting Process
Using Your Fresh Ginger
Ultimately, the reason we grow fresh ginger is to eat it. I love to freeze it in a sealed gallon freezer bag and grate it frozen with a microplane into my dishes for an extra pop of flavor and nutrition. Not only is it delicious, but did you know it can increase serotonin and dopamine levels? Everyone needs a little bit of happiness. Ginger can decrease inflammation, help with anxiety or depression, and has been known to ease nausea or motion sickness. Personally, I like it because it makes my favorite comfort food, Red or Green Curry Salmon, or the cream cheese frosting in my Birthday Carrot Cake taste over the moon delicious. So grow it and give it a try.
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Potting Soil- FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil
If you don’t have a local nursery or farmers market to purchase ginger plants, A Natural Farm is an online organic, Florida-based nursery that ships out organic, chemical-free ginger plants to your door. A Growers Exchange is also an online herb plant store specializing in non-GMO, chemical-free herbs delivered to your door.