I know exactly what you’re thinking. Christmas is a few days away, so why is this post about HOW TO GROW GINGER when it should be about how to make Gingerbread people! I get it. But I’m guessing you’ve already baked, decorated and probably consumed your gingerbread fam. Let’s talk a little gardening.
Ginger loves the heat. So for those in colder climates, you might think starting a ginger plant in December is simply out of the question. But it’s perfectly acceptable to start your plant indoors right now. Just go to the grocery store, pick up a few nubs of fresh ginger and you’re all set. I usually get a medium sized pot and fill it with soil – nothing fancy- and then plant my ginger 2-3 inches deep.
Put your pot in a nice, warm room. If you’ve got a drafty, chilly room, that’s not the best place for your plant. A sunny window in the kitchen is always nice. Basically, we want to keep the ginger happy so it’ll sprout in the months to come.
If you keep your soil moist and your home cozy, your ginger will surely spring to life. And by the time it’s warm outside, the plant will shoot up nice and tall. Once the outside temps are consistently in the 70 degree range, move the pot outside. Put that baby in a sunny spot because ginger can take the heat!
Full disclosure here – my ginger plants have never bloomed. However, I hear that it could take a few years. But I’ve also never started my ginger in December or January – until now. I usually get it started in April or May. But this year, I’m hoping that my jump start will produce yellow flowers this summer.
When the weather turns cold in Autumn, you’ll notice that the leaves will start to yellow. You can bring it back inside and it’ll continue to thrive as a houseplant. If you’re eager to get cooking, you can chop off the stalks and harvest your ginger.
I still have ginger in my freezer that I harvested from two Autumns ago. The bounty is incredible! The tender gingers don’t even need to be peeled and are delicious in stir fry and salad dressings. The more mature gingers are great for steeping and making tea or for making candied ginger.
5 Ginger FYIs
1. We may call it “ginger root” but the part we eat is actually the rhizome.
2. Ginger has been used to treat nausea for centuries, but some studies show the spice slows the growth of tumors.
3. Ginger is indigenous to China.
4. Elizabeth I of England served gingerbread men to her guests.
5. We have Hansel and Gretel to thank for popularizing gingerbread houses.