Ginger is a warm climate plant that is widely used in Asian cooking. If you’re going to be on the island for a while, why not try growing some ginger to cook with? Try some Thai food that uses ginger as an ingredient to get inspired!
Gardening is a lovely, calming hobby that you can pick up while you’re here to eat well and have fun in the process. There is something about eating food that you’ve put your love into growing - it makes the food taste so much better!
So, you ready to get your hands dirt-y and plant some delicious ginger? Here’s how:
1. March is the best time to start - at the start of the wet season. Overall, between March - November are the ideal growing months.
2. Buy a ginger root from the store, preferably an organic one if possible because non-organic ginger may have been treated with a growth inhibitor. Pick roots that are plump and free of wrinkles, with visible eyes (small points) at the end of the "fingers." If the eyes are starting to turn green even better, if not it’s still ok.
3. Cut the root into (at least) 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces with at least one eye per piece. The more eyes, the greater chance for that piece to sprout. Cut the ginger with a sanitized knife or shears.
4. Leave the pieces in a dry place for a few days so they can “heal” - meaning the spot where you cut it has formed a protective callus over the cut surface (dried up). This reduces the risk of infection.
5. Ginger thrives on high-quality, well-draining soil which you can achieve by mixing garden soil with an equal amount of well-rotted compost. Mildly acidic soil is preferable, so if the soil in your area is alkaline, adjust it to between 6.1 and 6.5 pH using a garden store pH kit.
6. When planting, each piece will require 8 inches (20 cm) of space all around. You will plant it 2-4 inches (5–10 cm) below loose soil, with the buds pointing upward. Water lightly right after planting.
7. As with all plants, the location is important. Ginger grows best in partially shaded areas (2-5 hours of direct sunlight a day) with morning sun only and away from large roots. The spot should be sheltered from wind and moist, but not swampy. If you’re growing it out of a pot make sure it’s at least 12 inches (30cm) deep with plenty of drainage holes in the base.
8. Watering directions: The soil will have to be kept damp. Check it daily and water it just before the soil is dried out. You don’t want the soil to be soggy as it will quickly rot your plant.
9. Ginger grows slowly so be patient. You may see a sprout if a few days (if lucky!) or it could take a couple of weeks. Just keep watering the soil how you should and if all goes well, eventually you’ll see a little plant sprouting out!
10. Fertilizer is optional but recommended. If you do fertilize, do it once a month with a small amount of complete liquid fertilizer. Also, mulch is optional but recommended as it will keep the ginger warm and fight weeds that easily outcompete slow-growing ginger.
11. As the stems die back, let soil dry. Stop watering completely once the stems die (this is usually at least 8 months after planting). In the first year or two, there's a chance the ginger plant won’t flower yet, especially if you planted it at the end of the growing season.
12. Let the plant mature before harvesting for a better, stronger flavor. You’ll know it’s matured when the stem dies. This is when you can dig up the ginger, cut off a piece for cooking, and replant it. As long as you leave some eyes behind it will keep growing. Ginger is a perennial plant in warm climates, meaning it will continue to grow indefinitely.
13. Last but not least, watch out for garden pests that harm ginger. Such creatures include: Aphids, Slugs and Snails.
Ginger is extremely good for your health. It is a superfood after all! The list of benefits is very long. If you’d like to know about all the great things eating or drinking ginger does for your body check out this article: Let’s Go Ginger!