Another Ginger Experiment

I’ve tried growing ginger a few times in a few places in my garden. I must confess that my success has been moderate. About half of my plants die off and about 1/2 produce a rhizome that is approximately double the size of the piece I originally planted. This is just a rough guess as I’ve never done a scientific study but my gut tells me that after a year or 2 I have exactly as much ginger as I bought to plant.

A saner gardener than I would be deterred by these observations but I really really really like ginger and use it in a lot of cooking and I make ginger beer every week which means growing my own would be fantastic. The fact that it can cost about $30 a kilo in off-season is another motivator.

Which means that when I recently saw some gardening program (forget which one) where they dropped chunks of ginger in a glass and let it grow roots and shoot before planting out, I was again on fire. Ginger was dirt cheap ($5 a kilo) and I bought a pile from the green grocer. No way could I eat it all and, rather than freeze it, I plunked some bits in glasses.

Ginger Shooting in a Glass

Ginger Shooting in a Glass

I tried adding honey to a 3 of the 6 glasses to see if that would stimulate growth like it does when shooting plants from cuttings – well it stimulated lots of growth, just not in the ginger. Those glasses started to stink and gunk was growing in the water and on the ginger. I dumped the water, rinsed the ginger, even cut off nasty bits but only one of those 3 chunks grew roots. This is NOT a good use of honey! Two of the non-honeyed 3 chunks of ginger took off really well, the other is kind of dormant as is the last honeyed chunk.

Which meant I had 3 rooting ginger chunks to go into the ground in yet another ginger experiment. (Which again is only a 50% strike rate – is it me?)

Here they are (hard to spot in amongst the existing ginger) in the ground. I sure hope something starts to work so I can actually harvest instead of just tend ginger.

Ginger Bed

Ginger Bed

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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11 Responses to Another Ginger Experiment

  1. shadowlilies says:

    Ooooo…so glad to know this. I never have thought of rooting ginger. I’m going to tell my chef daughter. She loves using ginger. Have you tried Ginger Kombucha?
    http://cheffingit.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/the-other-fizzy-beverage-kombucha/

  2. Oh I hope it does well for you – I so love having lots of ginger. I always leave some in the ground through the winter – you might try that, although you would probably have to form some sort of greenhouse type of enclosure to protect it. If you harvest some, just pull off the bigger pieces and then re-plant the remainder.

    • I left everything in the ground for 2 years now hoping it would spread – much comes back in summer but it’s not spreading. Maybe I just have to do an annual harvest and replant again in spring and accept that I won’t have a field of ginger taking over my garden.

  3. Linda says:

    Hope this works out well for you this time! They look like they sprouted well. Everytime I buy ginger, I always wonder if I could root it, but by the time I get home…the thought has already escaped me.

    • They sprout well but shouldn’t they spread like mad? I remember reading a book where a woman inherited her aunt’s house and went to look at it only to find most of the back garden covered in ginger that had taken over. What did she do that I didn’t (well, for one thing I remember she did live on a stream)?

      • Linda says:

        I did read that ginger likes a lot of water. I think I even found one blogger somewhere that grew hers near a dripping faucet and it would spread like crazy.

        • Mine are doomed. I water daily when it’s really dry but nothing gets that much water in my garden. Hubby and I talk often of creating some kind of water feature with maybe a small stream and a pond but unless that miracle ever happens we have dry parts of the garden and really dry parts of the garden – poor old ginger.

  4. is there anything you can’t grow! I’ve only ever had success at lettuce! not fair I’m so coming over! xxxx

    • There’s heaps I can’t grow but I think that’s my fault, not the climates. Dill and corriander are virtually weeds, but refuse to grow for me. What’s up with that? Truth be told I’d rather have bananas and passion fruit so those corrianders can keep on dyin’.

      My welcome mat is out front waiting.

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