I’ve always been a big fan of Ginger, so we seem to always have some on hand at home. While we do use it a lot in our cooking or to make teas, sometimes the root sits on the counter a little too long. This month we have neglected our ginger root and instead of shriveling up, the root has been sprouting into what looks like a beautiful start to a plant. This will be the first time I have bothered to attempt to grow my own Ginger roots at home.
Growing ginger that has already sprouted should be relatively easy. It will be several months before there’s any ginger to harvest, but the plant is low maintenance and can thrive in full to partial shade. This is good news for me as we are approaching fall and sunny windows in the house are very limited. Here is what I’ve learned so far…
Clearly I’ve had this root for some time now. To be honest, I’m not sure if this root is organic or not, generally we like to buy organic, but it depends on what’s available at the market. Many grocery store vegetables are sprayed with a growth inhibitor to prevent veggies from forming sprouts on the shelves. It doesn’t appear that this particular ginger root was chemically prevented from sprouting, but I wanted to soak the root to help clean off and hydrate the greens. I soaked it for about 5 hours, but I have read that you should soak it over night. Whether this step is necessary- I’m not sure, but like I said, I wanted to “clean” it off a bit because it had been so long since we bought it.
After the soak, I sliced off the started sprouts. This root had 2 larger more developed sprouts growing as well as 3 more very small ones. I chopped them all of with a little bit of root still attached and allowed them to dry out until the following day. I always allow cuttings to callous up a bit before planting, this will help prevent the fresh cuts from rotting.
The final step is to plant the ginger sprouts. Ginger tends to grow wide rather than deep, so a wider and shallow pot is ideal. The more room they have the bigger they will grow. I used an 8-10 inch pot that I had on hand. Since it will be coming inside in the coming months, I didn’t want it to be too large as plant space is limited in the winter months. All of the sprouts are currently planted in the same pot, no deeper than an inch into the soil. I may decide to separate them at some point if they are all growing strong or seem too crowded, for now, let’s see how this experiment plays out.
Ginger plants like humidity, so I’ll need to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out and remains damp throughout the winter. Since winter air in the house is usually pretty dry, the greens should be misted from time to time help keep them happy.
Ginger plants take about 10 months to fully mature- since these Ginger sprouts were planted in the beginning of August, the roots should be ripe for harvest sometime around May! Hopefully they will survive Chicago’s dark and cold winter. It will be so fun to see how large they will become! Look out for an update next spring!
UPDATE :: The ginger sprouts grew large and tall throughout fall (about a foot tall!), they got to live out on the sunny porch all the way until the end of November. Once they moved into the house my kitten had at them while I wasn’t looking and completely destroyed all the greens. With limited space and damaged sprouts, I decided to say goodbye to my first attempt at growing my own ginger. I dug up what was left and after 4 months of growth, the sprouts grew some pretty hefty root systems, but still lacked any solid root growth. Sorry for the let down update, I will surely give it another shot in the future.