Healthy ginger is known mainly for its healing properties. Here you can learn everything about planting, caring for, and harvesting the pungent rhizome.
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) is an ancient medicine and also known as a spice for thousands of years. Even the people of ancient Asia knew of its circulation-enhancing effect, in addition to its countless medicinal uses. Ginger was considered a popular aphrodisiac and was very much appreciated to help love on the jump.
Ginger root is probably one of the most versatile plants in the world. The numerous medicinal effects almost make you believe in a miracle cure and with its healthy ingredients the plant scores additionally. But not only that, because ginger is also a true all-rounder in the kitchen.
Ginger Root: Origin And Properties
The great secret of the plant lies underground: the pungent aromatic rhizome, which we commonly know as ginger. Only this part of the plant is harvested. Even in the Old Testament, dishes were spiced with ginger, and also in Ayurvedic medicine, the plant has enjoyed great popularity for thousands of years. Ginger once grew in the ancient rainforests of tropical islands. Today it is planted worldwide in the tropics and subtropics. The perennial plant looks almost a bit like grass or reeds with its fronds that can grow up to one and a half meters high. The parallel-veined leaves are arranged on the right and left of large, fleshy stems that sprout directly from the rhizome. Once a year, the yellowish-purple flowers appear, growing on their own stem directly from the ground.
Buy Ginger Plant: Here’s What You Should Consider
When buying a ginger plant, don’t be impressed by its German name. If you want to buy real ginger, you should look for Zingiber officinale. Numerous members of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) are traded under the synonym “ginger”. Red ginger, for example, hides the species Alpinia purpurata with its beautiful decorative flowers. Torch ginger (Etlingera elatior) is also related to ginger but is more of a cut flower than a well-known kitchen spice.
If you want to grow ginger yourself, then you should pay attention to the choice of the right root. In principle, reproduction works with all roots, but there are some differences. To be sure that the ginger rhizome has not been treated with a growth-inhibiting substance, it is recommended to buy an organically grown ginger tuber. At best, this will be nice and smooth, and fresh.
How To Plant Ginger Root
Planting ginger is not great witchcraft. With a little dedication (and above all a lot of warmth) you don’t even need a green thumb to be able to call a ginger plant your own soon. By the way, the harvested ginger part is not a tuber. Botanically correct, the object of desire is actually called Rhizome. It is precisely from this rhizome that it is relatively easy to grow your own ginger plants. At this point, we would like to tell you that ginger is a beautiful ornamental plant and with its reed-like leaves and large flowers conjures up tropical flair in every apartment.
Planting ginger: Step 1
Of course, you need a piece of ginger first to get started. It is not so important whether the piece is a little older and dried up. Also, it does not matter whether the rhizome is whole or whether only parts are used. Keep in mind, however, that a large rhizome also develops faster into a large plant, and the fresher the piece, the better it grows. It can also be an advantage if you catch apiece, which is already easily expelled. If fresh pieces are cut from a rhizome for propagation, they should dry in the air for a few days before they come underground. Otherwise, the fresh interfaces can rot easily. We have compiled the following for you on how to proceed with planting.
Planting ginger: Step 2
For the next step, you need a pot and high-quality as well as well-drained potting soil. You can choose the pot size depending on the size of the ginger piece used – you can still repotting later. Then dig a pit about 5 cm deep and put the ginger in it and cover it with soil. It doesn’t matter how the rhizome is lying around. Plants always know where “up” is located. After that, the soil is watered slightly so that it is moist, but not wet. The pot is placed in a warm place (optimal: 68 – 82 °F). After a few weeks, depending on how warm it is, the first shoots should show up. Then the light-hungry plant needs as much sun as possible.
Planting ginger: Step 3
Depending on the light and heat supply, the plant now forms stately green leaves quite quickly. In the warm summer months and after getting used to the direct sun, ginger can even be placed outside, but the temperatures should not drop below 53 °F at night. With a little luck, you can also witness the beautiful ginger flowers that grow directly from the rhizome. As the days get shorter, the green shoots often say goodbye to the ginger. But that is not a problem. The rhizomes are wintered in the pot at 122 °F, whereby the soil must be dry. In spring, new and fresh shoots from the rhizomes sprout again. However, you have to be a little patient with the harvest. In his home country under perfect conditions, ginger takes about eight months to harvest. But even if the harvest is not gigantic, you have still gained a great ornamental plant.
Plant Ginger In A Pot: Summary
How you can easily plant ginger in a pot, we have summarized for you again in key points:
- Place ginger rhizome in a pot of permeable soil
- Fill the pot with soil so that the ginger is covered about 2 inches
- Moisten the soil well; Avoid waterlogging
- Place the pot in a warm place (approx. 68 – 82 °F)
- After about eight weeks, a shoot should be visible
Origin and history of ginger
The ginger perennial is a very old spice and medicinal plant. Although their exact origin is unknown, it is certain that ginger was cultivated before our time. As early as 2,800 B.C., the Chinese emperor Shennong mentioned ginger in a book about medicinal herbs. Long known as a valuable medicinal plant in Asia, Arab traders also brought yellow gold to Europe in antiquity. Today, ginger is appreciated almost all over the world and grown in Australia, Asia, and South America in a subtropical to tropical climate.
The most important thing for the ginger plant is actually plenty of sun from the first moment. To provide the plant with the sunniest place you can find. In summer, ginger can also be grown outdoors, as long as the temperature never drops below 53°F.
Always keep the ginger root moist. Nevertheless, the pot should have a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging, as this quickly leads to rotting of the rhizome and roots. For watering, you should use only low-lime water. If your tap water has a high lime content, then collected rainwater offers a good alternative. As soon as the above-ground shoots begin to die back in the fall, you should slowly stop watering and leave it completely over the winter. Watering should only be resumed in the spring, starting in February.
Ginger does not need to be cut. The plant only forms annual shoots anyway, which turn yellow and die in the fall. You can only remove them when they have completely dried out – or at harvest time.
It is best to mix a portion of slow-release fertilizer under the soil in spring. In this way, the ginger is optimally supplied with nutrients until autumn. The second dose in early summer strengthens the plant even more.
Ginger is extremely easy to propagate. If you have harvested the root in autumn, you can cut the part that you do not want to use directly in the kitchen into pieces about four centimeters long. You should divide these into several pots and overwinter them in a dry place at about 50 °F. In spring, with the right care, a new ginger plant will grow from each of the individual pieces.
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You can harvest your homegrown ginger in the fall starting in October. The plant will clearly show you the right time by starting to pull back its leaves. They turn yellow and gradually dry up. Just before that, your bet comes. Simply dig the rhizome out of the ground. If you want to harvest ginger next year as well, you should leave part of the rhizome in the ground. You can now remove the rest and process it.
Preserving and storing
To preserve ginger, you have a variety of options depending on your preference. Whether dried and grated as a ginger spice or tea, candied with sugar, or pickled in syrup or vinegar – it’s entirely up to your taste. Even freezing is an option.
You can find out how to store ginger root properly here.
Ginger: Ingredients And Use
Ginger has so many useful ingredients that it is easy to lose track of them. The gingerols deserve special attention. Together with the shoals, they provide the pungency of ginger and are responsible for countless medicinal uses of the plant. Its medicinal properties have been known to man for thousands of years, and ginger was cultivated for this purpose in Europe as early as the Middle Ages. But also as a spice or even food ginger enjoys great popularity. In England in particular, dishes such as ginger jam or candied ginger are known as a special treat.
For traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, ginger is one of the most important spices. Even in the Middle Ages, ginger was successfully used against numerous ailments. With its countless modes of action, it is a true miracle cure.
How Is Ginger Used As A Medicinal Plant?
- Colds: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory substances. One of the best known and simplest applications is therefore the time-honored ginger tea with honey against coughs, sore throats, and colds.
- Stomach and intestines: Ginger has a very positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Stomach complaints and nausea are relieved, digestion is promoted. Ginger can also help against motion sickness.
- Stimulation of the circulation: With its effect on blood circulation, ginger has a stimulating effect on circulation. As a result of the blood circulation-promoting effect of ginger, it is also considered an aphrodisiac.
- Pain relief: The ingredient gingerol is similar to the substance acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. A good piece of freshly grated ginger in fruit juice is therefore also effective against headaches. If you are not a fan of fresh ginger, you can of course prepare a ginger tea.
- Anticarcinogenic effect: Ginger root has an antioxidant effect and can bind free radicals. It has been proven that it can prevent cancer or be used as an adjunct to cancer therapy.