Growing ginger is a very rewarding journey. Let’s say that it is perfect for the more patient gardener and if you aren’t, then ginger will help you develop the patience needed! Ginger grows into a beautiful plant that not only has edible roots but the most fragrant edible leaves too.
It is a slow growing plant. Here in the UK, I have found that it is easier to start it indoors in January and February before moving it outdoors in the warmer summer months.
How to Start Growing Ginger
I start with buying fresh root ginger. This is best done from a garden centre or shop where it is specifically sold for growing. I prefer using organically grown ginger, although it can be tricky to source. Once you’ve grown it however you can use part of your harvest to plant again!
I normally grow my ginger by letting it sprout naturally first on my kitchen counter. This year, I trialled soaking it first before planting and it has worked a treat too.
So there are two ways of starting your ginger:
- Sprouting your Ginger
- Soaking your Ginger
1. Sprouting your Ginger
Once I have bought my fresh root ginger, I keep a few pieces on my kitchen counter top ideally in a corner where no-one will disturb them. This is where patience begins! It may take a few weeks for the sprouts to appear but these pale little knobbly growths are the first signs of life.
Planting your Ginger
You can then plant them into pots with good drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the pots up to two thirds with your fresh new multipurpose compost. Give the filled pots a tap and firm it lightly down. Place your sprouted root ginger pieces on top of the compost.
Watering your Ginger
Cover these with about 5 cm of compost. I prefer to water from beneath. Take lukewarm water (slightly above room temperature) and fill the pot trays with them. You can also take one larger tray and fill it with lukewarm water and then place your pot or pots in them too. Leave them for about half an hour before taking them out of the tray. Place these in a warm part of your house, like a bright windowsill. Your ginger does not need a sunny spot at this point.
Ensure that you keep the compost moist but not too wet or the ginger will rot. To prevent this, watering from below and using pots that have good drainage holes helps.
Wait for the shoots to pop up .. more waiting on the cards! Growing ginger tests the most patient of us. All you have to do is ensure it has warmth, brightness and a moist compost to live in.
It’s so exciting when you see the new shoots finally popping up and yes, you are allowed a happy dance in celebration!
2. Soaking your Ginger
This year, I started some ginger by soaking it first. I took fresh ginger and soaked it in some tepid water overnight in an attempt to wake it up! After just one night’s soak, I cut the ginger into pieces to get more plants from it. The pointed bits are where the ginger will sprout from so I have left one on each piece.
I filled small pots with multipurpose compost and then planted my pieces. In one pot, I planted the pieces sideways and in the other, they faced upwards to see if it made a difference!
I covered with some more fresh multipurpose compost and watered the pots with tepid water. These pots were then covered with a plastic bag to conserve the humidity before placing in a warm corner in my kitchen.
After about 3 weeks, it was so exciting to see one of the sprouts peeping up from the surface of the compost!
Happy to report that this first shoot was in the pot where I planted them facing upwards. Clearly helping the ginger sprout to reach the surface quicker. So if you are growing ginger by soaking it, placing them upwards will be beneficial. However, the others were not far behind so do not be too concerned about it. They do find their way up and overall it did not make much difference!
Transplanting your Ginger
As your ginger grows, you can transplant it into bigger pots or containers. Again make sure they have good drainage with adequate holes at the bottom!
I use fresh multipurpose compost in the new pots. I prefer to grow these indoors where it is reliably warm till summer is well on its way over here.
Growing Ginger Outdoors
I plant my ginger outdoors in late July when summer temperatures are more assured. My garden faces west so it is very hot all afternoon. Ginger however grows well in dappled or part shaded spot which is where I like to place mine.
It is important to work with your outside space by moving your ginger pot or planter around till it’s happy.
Growing Ginger in a Cold Greenhouse
Once the warm summer days turn cooler as we head into autumn, I like to move my ginger into my cold greenhouse.
You can bring it indoors into a sheltered bright porch or a windowsill if your container is smaller.
In colder parts of the country, ginger can be successfully grown over summer in a poly tunnel or in a shaded greenhouse too.
Ginger grows very slowly and can take over 10 months before you can pull out your spicy treasure! It may feel like that moment will never arrive but rest assured it will! Ginger plants will begin to yellow and slacken. That is when you know you can harvest it.
You can of course dig a little out as it is growing without disturbing the rest of the plants too much. However, I like to harvest it all in one go and especially as winter temperatures can be too low for ginger to survive in my unheated greenhouse.
So I am now getting all ready to harvest my ginger this year and so excited!
Hope you will be giving ginger a go, whether it’s by leaving it to sprout before planting or by soaking it first. Follow me on Instagram and join us growing ginger again this January!
It’s a good time now to buy your fresh ginger now …