Going back to my roots

Leave a piece of ginger alone in the kitchen long enough and it will start to bud...

Leave a piece of ginger alone in the kitchen long enough and it will start to bud…

One of the main reasons I started trying to grow edible plants was to prove that we can indeed grow some of our own vegetables. This was because a friend in Australia had commented about the high price of ginger there, to which I suggested she try growing it. She didn’t think it possible, so of course I had to give it a go. This, after all, is why I am the Curious Gardener.

So while I was able to grow ginger some four or so years ago (read here for that account), we didn’t manage to grow the amount I’d envisioned. Rainy weather caused most of our plants to rot at the roots, and my other attempts died out and then I didn’t go back to planting more.

Well, I recently spied a piece of old ginger that had been left alone for too long in the kitchen, and decided to lay claim to it because the growing buds were too irresistible to pass up. To maximise the number of plants we can grow, I decided to cut the rhizome into smaller pieces – each with at least one good growing bud on it. This gave me five pieces, which I am leaving alone for now to allow the cut surfaces to cure a little before I plant them properly. After all, I don’t want the bits to rot instead of grow.

The ginger that I tried growing in a pot is still around, even though I thought I'd pulled out all the plants already.

The ginger that I tried growing in a pot is still around, even though I thought I’d pulled out all the plants already.

More serious ginger growers will say that you should have about three growing buds per ginger piece planted out, but it’s fairly obvious that I like to experiment and see what I can get away with. I have great faith in the tenacity of plants and nature – they will do their very best to grow despite the most challenging of conditions. Besides, that was what I did with my last bulk planting of ginger, which was around 20 plants from bits with a single growing bud each.

What will I do differently this time? Well, first you should watch these videos to see what has inspired me:

Jeff Heriot: Planting ginger with commercial grower tips

Jeff Heriot: Ginger harvest

Eco Oasis: Growing ginger for profit in a food forest

Okay, so I’m not likely to reach the levels of these guys, but what I’d like to try to emulate are fertilising the plants more regularly (I didn’t realise they needed to be fed that much) and to continue experimenting with locations for growing, because I haven’t found that sweet spot in our garden where they’ll thrive just yet. Should I try planting the ginger in a mound or trench? Or perhaps in a container? Maybe I’ll try all, to see what works best. What I do know is that I’m not going to do the annual harvest, because I’ve heard that the longer you leave the ginger plants alone, the better they will establish themselves (bigger rhizomes) – and if you need to use some ginger, you can just dig a bit and pull off what you need to use. I adore being able to go out to the garden and harvest what you need for your meal, so this suits me fine.

The next phase of our ginger journey is on!

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