Growing culinary ginger

January 30th, 2013
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As my six regular readers may know, I like gardening. I don't have a big yard, so a lot of it is in pots, though I've recently done a few things: I've started digging into my once-beautifully designed front "yard" (by "yard" I mean postcard-sized spit of land near the mailbox) which the previous owners had landscaped with low-maintenance, tropical plants; I've started buying big pots to place around the dog's yard in an effort to keep the plants safe from her trampling or pooping on them; and I've started researching what plants work well with the microclimates in order to best maximize my limited yard space.

Fail: I didn't think Inca would dig in the pots. See footprints.

Fail: I didn't think Inca would dig in the pots. See footprints.

This has led me to succulents to plant under the eaves of the house - that thin strip of land that will, in the summer, get blazing sun and little water, and where previous efforts to plant my favorite things (herbs) has failed. So far, I'm not sure. It's rainy now, so two of those succulents have rotted and died.

I've also looked further into shade-loving plants, which has brought me to culinary ginger. I'm Chinese: I like useful things. I have awapuhi, and have intentions of dividing my dad's honeycomb ginger when I have time, but I'm really excited about culinary ginger. Imagine never having to buy it again!

After research online, I bought a hand from an organic grocery store (Down to Earth) and cut it into seven pieces, each piece with a little eye that should eventually grow a sprout. I read that organic ginger lacks growth-retardant, but for experimentation, I also cut a chunk of chain-grocery store ginger to see what happens. Though, I've forgotten which ginger came from which store. Duh!

I planted a few in pots and a few directly into the ground, on the shady side of the house.

I did this on Halloween. Ginger is very slow, because it took months for it to sprout, and not all have sprouted yet. I think they will, because I see their eyes having green growth buds.

I have actually forgotten where I put three of the rhizomes. I remember the general location but I can't find them anymore. Maybe one day they'll be these beautiful leaves that will call out to me where to find them. (There seems to be a lot of memory-loss in this blog!)

Meanwhile, here's a progress update:

In water: Foodland ginger. On right: organic ginger, cut and drying

In water: Foodland ginger. On right: organic ginger, cut and drying

Look for eye buds like this.

Look for eye buds like this.

Dry for a week till the cut scabs over, or rhizome will rot when you plant it.

Dry for a week till the cut scabs over, or rhizome will rot when you plant it.

Slow grow: this is 2 1/2 months later, and a small green shoot.

Slow grow: this is 2 1/2 months later, and a small green shoot.

8 Responses to “Growing culinary ginger”

  1. Ken Conklin:

    Fingernails look nice -- clear (not painted), well cut (rounded, not too long, not too short), clean (no gardener's dirt under them).


  2. Bert Nakagawa:

    Diane,

    I think you need to buy the ginger so none of the root is showing.


  3. M:

    Hello Diane, I don't have a green thumb and everything dies. Bottom line is I don't like gardening anyways. Easier for me just to get it at the Farmers Market.


  4. sandy:

    congratulations on growing culinary ginger...we are retired "farmers" from Oahu and now on the Big Island doing some ourselves, hopefully to sell at our farmers' market; definitely containerize them and be sure to harvest once a year and replant after cutting them up; they do productively-well in warmer climates; attended a couple of sessions in Hilo on cultivating them and highly recommended to containerize them.


  5. Ed Oshiro:

    Great read, and, I did learn something NEW this week.
    Thank you Diane.
    By the way, how's the shrimp doing?


  6. Kage:

    I tried growing ginger once because I forgot it on the counter so long that it started to grow a nice shoot.

    It too forever and I did get a small, and I repeat myself, small growth out of the rhizome. I have to admit it was the best tasting ginger I cooked with.

    I wish you luck in your endeavor.


  7. Kage:

    *took forever


  8. Kage:

    I did have luck with garlic in a container. Again it took a while to grow, but the flavor did out shine the store bought ones.


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