Ginger is a flowering plant whose rootstock, ginger root or simple ginger is widely used spice, which has great health benefits. Ginger is originated from the Indian subcontinent in south Asia. India, China and all the countries in south Asia are the largest producers of Ginger. Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Warm climatic conditions are best to grow ginger, it can be used as landscaping around subtropical homes. Northern climates are mostly suitable for growing ginger in containers round the year. Ginger is a tropical plant, it doesn’t survive in the frost. Spring is the ideal season to grow in containers. A rhizome is a root or underground stem of the ginger plant. Ginger is propagated from a small section of the rhizome, cut a small 3-6 cm of root pieces from a living rhizome. Ginger takes nearly ten months to mature and it is frost sensitive.

If you are living in cold areas, it is best to grow ginger indoors and place the container in outdoor in day times for morning sunlight. Ginger is a miraculous plant grows well in full shade, so it can easily thrive in your home, where we don’t have sunlight throughout the day. Flowers in ginger plants are rarely seen, gingers are mainly grown for consumption. The ginger plant grows about 4” tall with long dark green shoots and leaves around 2 cm wide and 6″ to 7” tall. The ginger rhizome has yellowish brown skin with pale yellow hard flesh inside covered with fine fibrous roots. The ginger plant sometimes has fruits that contain small, black seeds and ginger fruits are rarely seen. Ginger is the richest source of proteins, vitamins, calcium and iron.

Scientific Name for Ginger: ZingiberOfficinale. Common Name: Common Ginger, Cooking Ginger, Canton Ginger, East Indian Pepper, Jamaica Ginger and Jamaica Pepper.

 Ginger plant can be grown from a chunk of ginger, or from the cutting of the ginger plant. Select an organic ginger, as inorganic ginger is processed with chemicals that can prevent sprouting. Ginger plants are available in all the nurseries How to select a ginger root for Ginger to grow a common edible variety ginger plant, you just need ginger root from the shop. Or can get a ginger plant from nearby nurseries or garden centers. Select ginger that is plump and free from wrinkles with small dark spots at the end of the “finger”.

Eyes that have started to turn green are ideal, but it is not required. Organic ginger could be the best option, if using inorganic ginger, you may need growth inhibitor. Before planting divide the ginger rhizome into 1” peace, with at least one eye or a small bump on it from which ginger plant sprout. Leave rhizome pieces to dry for a few days, as the cut areas should need to scab over and dry.

Before planting the ginger rhizome, soak the rook stock in warm water over night will promotes the growth of the plants. Ginger you are should be at least 1-inch wide with one or more eyes, will grow into a separate plant. The best planting time for ginger in the container is, late winter or early spring.

Ginger thrives in highly fertile, well-drained soil to feed the ginger plant. Using a high quality commercial potting mix with organic matter is also recommended. The soil should have ability to hold moisture and should have the free draining capacity, so the ginger roots don’t become water logged. If you are using garden soil, mix garden soil with well-rotted compost for better growth of roots. Don’t choose poor in quality or high in clay soil. Ginger plants thrive well in mild acidic soils, the pH levels of the soil should be between 6.1 to 6.5 adjusts the pH levels using the garden store PH kit.

The ginger plant grows in huge size and spreads horizontally so choose a shallow, wide container. The ideal size of the container should be grown at minimum 15-inch wide container with variable depth. Ginger roots grow horizontally, so the width of the container is more important than depth. Small containers are best to move easily inside and out. The container should have a good draining system. And cover the draining holes with fine net and place a layer of small stones or cracked pottery to avoid water logging.

Ginger needs partial shade or areas with morning sun. If growing in indoors, place the container in a warm room where the ginger root is exposed to indirect sunlight. If growing outdoors, place the container in a shady spot where it receives morning sun, gets shade during hot afternoons. Growing location should be protected from wind and moist.

Soak the ginger root in water overnight, before planting. Fill the container with a commercial potting mix with organic compost. Place the ginger root in the soil with eye bud pointing up. Cover it with 1” to 2” of soil. Water the plant with water can, water thoroughly till soil gets completely moist till the bottom. Place the container in a spot where it gets morning sunlight and complete shade during the day

Don’t expose container to much bright sunlight, it just need 1 or 2 hours of morning sunlight. Keep the soil moist, using a spray bottle to mist it, or water it lightly. Ginger is a slower growing plant, ginger root starts sprouting after a couple of weeks. See the shoots popping up out of the soil. Continue watering the plant regularly by misting it with a spray bottle and keep it warm.

Ginger plant need morning sunlight to thrive. Ginger plants need two to three hours of direct sunlight. The container should be watered in the form of shower using a watering can. Ginger needs a lot of moisture to thrive, the soil should never dry during the growth of the plant. Keep the soil moist constantly. Don’t over water the plants, as ginger is root plant, overwatering will drain all the nutrients from the soil along with water. Ginger loves humidity, in case of dry air, spraying and misting will maintain the humidity in the air. In summer season, water the plants at regular intervals. In winter, water the plants when required, or even make the soil dry that promotes strong ginger rhizome formation.

Gingers are not heavy feeders. If you are growing in a good quality potting mix or in high fertile soil, mixed with organic compost fertilization is not required. First test the soil and then fertilize the plants. To get good yields, feed the plant with small amount of balanced organic liquid fertilizers once in a month. Fertilize the plant for every six to eight weeks, with fish emulsion or seaweed extract. During the growing season, additional fertilizer can be applied as a side dressing. Use some slow release organic granular fertilizer for every 3 weeks during the growing period.

Mulching is very important as it increases organic matter, and conserves soil moisture and prevents washing soil during rains. Organic mulch keeps the soil warm and supplied with the necessary nutrients to the ginger roots. Mulching controls the weeds. A thick layer of mulch is compulsory if soil temperature falls below 10°C.

Ginger containers should be brought indoors in winters. During peak winters place the containers in warm and dry locations. If the container is placed in outdoors, cover the container with a thick layer of mulch when the temperature drops below 10°C. Ginger loves warm climate and, but it rarely survives frost. At the early stages of winter, the plant starts to die back. At that time, reduce the water, and make soil to dry. this encourages the ginger to form rhizomes.

Root rot is a major destructive disease that can affect the ginger plant. This disease can be managed by selecting well drained soils. Selecting a healthy rhizome and good shade can prevent plant from diseases like Soft rot, dry rot, leaf spot, white grub, shoot borer and bacterial wilt. Using an organic herbicide for controlling diseases and bacteria in ginger plants. Using neem oil spray or horticultural oil spray regularly will protect from pests.

Harvest the ginger plant when the leaves begin to turn yellow and die down, it indicates that ginger is ready to harvest. Approximately harvesting period of the ginger plant is 10months. Ginger gets good flavor if it is completely developed in the ground. The stems of the starts to die after 7 to 8 months of planting, then dig up the ginger rhizome. Small pieces of ginger can be harvested 3-4 months after the growth begins. Pull some soil aside at the edges of the container to find some ginger root and cover back the soil. In this way ginger can be harvested endlessly, and as long as plant given a proper care. Young ginger roots should be harvested very carefully. Use a sanitized knife to cut the plant.

Ginger plant needs rich, well drained, sandy loam or clay soil and plenty of indirect sunlight and water. Ginger plants grow well in shade if adequate water is provided. Ginger is always propagated by portions of rhizome knows as seed rhizome or sets. Before planting ginger rhizomes, wash them properly in running water or soak ginger overnight. Water the plant sparingly till the ginger rhizome sprouts. Ginger can be grown year-round in a zone of 9 or higher.

An Idea temperature for a vibrant and beautiful ginger plant is between 12°C to 15° If the temperature falls below 4°C to 5°C, the leaves of the plant will die off and rhizome will shrivel and become lifeless. Moisture levels of the soil should be checked regularly. Water the plants just before it dries out completely. Soggy soil will rot the plants very quickly. If water is not draining out quickly, improve the drainage system. Growing ginger in the container is time taking process, observe the sprouts emerging from the root in two to three weeks. Ginger is best house plant that enjoys indoor in cold season. Soil with equal compositions of compost or dried leaf will give provide necessary nutrient feed for growth of the ginger plant. The time from planting to maturity will vary with the climatic conditions.

Plants should be allowed to grow for at least three to four before the ginger rhizomes are harvested. If left undisturbed, ginger roots will germinate new buds and the plants will repeat the new growth cycle. Soft rot is most destructive diseases that can affect ginger plant. Weeding should be done regularly depending on the weed growth. Ginger cannot bear frost, direct sun, strong winds, and soggy waterlogged soil. Ideal size of container of growing ginger is 14-inch pot that can easily hold three rhizomes. Use organic slow release fertilizer during plantation and during the growth feed the plant with liquid fertilizers like seaweed or fish emulsion for every three weeks.

Ginger plants grown in potting soil need to be fertilized regularly. Growing ginger in the torrential summer rains, should be fertilized every week as the rains wash the nutrients in soil. The best time to harvest ginger is, after the leaves have died down and stems turn dark brown color. If you want to see the flowers of ginger plant, a cluster needs to be about two years old to flower. Exposed rhizome should be covered with soil. Ginger is a tropical plant and likes humid environment, to create the best environment for growing ginger, cover the container with plastic cover until the plant has begun sprouting.

 

Chander Mohan
Krishi Jagran



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