It may be interesting to try ginger at home, in your own garden or on the balcony, even if you are not very experienced, because growing ginger is really easy.
Ginger is native to the Far East and almost everything on the market comes from China. That’s why you can get a precious ingredient for your cuisine at km O.
The botanical name of the ginger is Zingiber officinale and belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae, the same as curcuma and cardamom,
In Anglo-Saxon-speaking countries it is known as ginger and is much appreciated for its acidic taste, similar to lemon.
Ginger is a perennial plant composed of a large rhizome, irregularly shaped, fleshy and branched.
From the rhizome, the stems depart directly, reaching up to one metre in height and ending in thin, lance-shaped, green leaves.
The flowers are yellow or orange inflorescences, with purple hues.
If you want to experiment with ginger cultivation, you have to plant it in early spring, because ginger is a tropical plant and, as such, does not withstand frost.
Technically, ginger can also be grown in the ground, but the best solution is to grow it in pots, to be placed indoors or outdoors, but so that you can move it and protect it from winter frost.
Let’s see what are the procedures for growing ginger:
- To start, you need to get a ginger root, technically called a rhizome, which is firm and without roughness and which has “yellow-green dots” at the ends, which are nothing but germinating tips. If you can choose organic, because those sold in supermarkets often undergo chemical treatments to inhibit sprouting. In the latter case, you can, however, try immersing your root in hot water for a whole day, so as to stimulate the growth process again.
- To obtain a sprouted ginger, place it in an open container, away from excessive heat sources but in order to receive enough light and air.
- If your rhizome develops more shoots, cut it into parts with a well sharpened and clean knife, making sure that each piece has a couple of shoots. Then let the pieces dry for a few days, so that a protective patina is created around the cuts to protect the rhizome from infection.
- Take a container that is at least 30 cm in diameter and just as deep, so that the roots can develop comfortably. For good water drainage, as the ginger fears waterlogging, choose a plastic pot with holes at the base or place it on the bottom of the expanded clay container.
- Better soil: Ginger needs a well-drained, high-quality soil. Fill the pot with garden soil mixed with sand and a good dose of mature compost. But do not fill it completely, because the soil should be added on the new jets as they emerge, just to develop more roots, which are the characteristic part of the plant.
- Now, bury the pieces of rhizome at a depth of 5-10 cm and at a distance of 10 cm between them, with the shoots turned upwards.
- Place your ginger plant in a very bright place, but not exposed to direct sunlight, with a temperature that never drops below 15 degrees.
- Wet the soil immediately after planting the ginger, and then only when you see the soil too dry and preferably in the evening hours.
- After about 8 months, the ginger plant will end its vegetative cycle and the leaves will begin to turn yellow and dry. Now you can gently remove the rhizome from the ground with your hands so as not to damage it. Leave a few roots in the ground, but you can also replant a few pieces of what you have collected, just have a pair of “eyes” to repeat the process as you saw at first.
How To Preserve Ginger
Ginger should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper bag, to protect it from moisture, or in a glass jar closed with a stopper and placed in a dry place.
Peeled and cut into pieces, it can be frozen without losing its flavour or beneficial properties.
Ginger is a medicinal plant with high beneficial properties, well known for preparing excellent herbal teas and to flavor many recipes, but there are also ornamental varieties very pleasing aesthetically.