So, what have we got up our sleeves? In addition to our newly planted horseradish root and pineapple top, this weekend we decided it was high time to start out an indoor potted planter for ginger root. That's right, we're growing ginger root — and we're doing it from a few leftover pieces we picked up from the grocery store a while back for one of my recipes.
Ginger is one of those plants with long documented health and medicinal benefits, but for the sake of keeping things real, we've decided to try and grow our own self generating supply since Mary and I just LOVE the taste of it. We're planting these little root nubs with big hopes for future add-ins to recipes, for canning and spirit concoctions. OK, and Mary's excited to see the and use the flowers from the plant. Maybe I am too. A litte.
Here's how easy it is to plant ginger root — start with a piece of root from the farmer's market or grocery store and twist or chop off the knobby portions, called "fingers," for planting. You want each of these to grow and expand their own sets of nubby root fingers, so we'll start small.
Twist or cut off "fingers." See how we just pulled apart the 3 main sections of a single root:
We saved one to keep sealed in a zipper bag in our freezer for use, then planted the remaining two pieces sprout side up in a soil filled container:
The ginger shoots will eventually sprout and emerge from each of the little nubby areas, called eyes (like a potato has eyes), on each finger section. You may find a piece of ginger root that already has these sprouts coming out, or you can even encourage them to do so by leaving them near a windowsill before you plant.
Press gently into the soil and add more well draining soil to the pot, just enough to cover the root pieces:
You're almost done! Now, you just need to keep the soil moist and warm in a sunny area and watch for growth. Almost exactly as we explained when planting our horseradish root, the ginger root will grow and expand underneath the soil throughout the growth season. Before you know it, you'll have an ongoing supply of ginger root in your own space, negating the need for you to ever buy it again from the store.
Because ginger plants require more warmth and sunlight, we've brought the container indoors and have it nestled in a little grouping with our two avocado tree plants underneath the windowsill in our kitchen that we've had the most luck with sprouting plantings. If all goes well, with regular waterings and warm sunlight, we should see green sprouts pushing their way up through the soil in the coming weeks. For now, they're just getting all happy in their new home by the window.
From what we've read, after about 4 months of growing in the container, we should be able to cut small portions of ginger straight from the edge of the root for use in the kitchen — these early pieces will have a milder taste than the more mature root we'll get later in the growing season.
We'll be able to fully harvest after about 8-10 months of growth and will look for signs of the plant to be ready for harvesting, like leaves drying and dying away. At this point, we should be able to remove the entire new big pieces of root from the container and break them up for use in the kitchen, storing, and replanting right away in even more planters.
So that's how we got our little ginger root container plant started — you can bet we'll keep you posted on it's progress. It was actually such a quick and easy container gardening project, it left us wondering why we haven't tried it sooner!