Ginger root! What a beautiful thing. A staple item in a great number of cultural cuisines, this spicy, intense, fresh, over-the-top root is not just delicious, it’s nutritious!
On top of that, it is surprisingly easy to grow in your own backyard garden, or even in a pot inside. With the cold and flu season coming up, it’s a great idea to start thinking ahead on what kinds of herbs you’ll be wanting for that itchy throat.
Today we’ve prepared a little seminar on why ginger is amazing, where it likes to grow, and why you should incorporate it into your diet. But first…
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A Wee Fun Fact
DID YOU KNOW that the part of the ginger we are eating, isn’t actually the root? There’s the plant/flowering portion that lives above the soil, then there is the rhizome that lives below the soil, and roots grow off of the rhizome.
The rhizome is the bit that we turn into oils, powders, and spicy ginger beer. Why has the entire planet been referring to the ginger root as ginger root? Maybe ginger rhizome doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Why You Love Ginger
Zingiber Officinale is part of the Zingiberaceae family and is one of the healthiest spices we have on the planet. Ginger is very closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
These are all spices present in Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines — and I don’t know if you noticed, but after I eat food from any of these cultures my tummy always feels amazing after.
It’s Good For Your Body!
Where do I begin! Ginger has tons of medicinal properties, and it helps your gut, blood, brain, and heart.
- ginger is known to help in the fight against colds and flu
- it’s full of antioxidants resulting in anti-inflammatory benefits
- it treats nausea for people experiencing chemotherapy
- it helps women experiencing morning sickness and menstrual pain
- it aids in the relief of joint and muscle pain
- it helps settle an upset stomach
- regulation of blood sugar, insulin
- keeps a fast running metabolism
- reduces lipoproteins which a major risk factor when it comes to heart disease
How to Grow Ginger
Ginger is one of the most passive garden plants you could probably incorporate into your garden. Lots of seasoned gardeners say that they look at their ginger plant once a year: when it’s time for harvest.
The key is to plant a lot of ginger root at one time and wait one or two years to harvest it. If this is possible, you’ll have enough ginger to feed multiple families for multiple years.
You can start growing ginger from the roots that you purchase from the grocery store! Just try to find a large piece with lots of growth buds. These resemble small knobs that look like they were once the source of a root.
Since lots of produce from the grocery store tend to be sprayed with pesticides, it’s a good idea to soak the ginger overnight, especially in case it’s soaked with a growth retardant.
Ginger really loves warm weather, humidity, nutrient-rich soil, shelter from wind, and filtered sunlight.
*I mean it when I say the like humidity, they really like it. If you want to give them a little bit more attention, spray them with mist to keep them moist and happy.
Ginger is rather resilient, but try to keep it away from frost, strong wind, waterlogged soil, and direct sunlight.
*Don’t overwater ginger! Especially in the first few months of growth. The extra water will drain out all of those precious nutrients in the soil!
Planting & Harvesting Time
The best time of year to plant ginger is in the late winter or early spring. They can grow in pots or tubs, or in a nice deep plot in the garden.
The key is to plant it, make sure it’s not too dry or wet, and leave it forever.
You’ll know that it’s ready to harvest when the weather starts to cool at the end of the summer season. As this happens, things also tend to dry out. The ginger will really reduce it’s growing, and even start to die back. It stops sucking in water and the ground dries out. This is when the ginger will form those lovely edible rhizomes.
Once all of the green leaves that live above the soil are completely dead, you’ll know that your ginger is ready for harvest!
Savanna Lentz hails from no place in particular. Having moved 30 times before the age of twenty, the constant change in environment has earned her expert status in all things homemaking. Whether it be interior painting and designing, baking, hosting charming dinner parties, or colour coating her collection of books, she is the cool kind of Stepford wife.
A double major in English Literature & Creative Writing has truly harnessed her ability for communication, and her knack for the strange and comedic has been read far and wide. Savanna loves contributing to any canon, from short fiction to music reviews, DIY projects to climbing lifestyle magazines. This multifaceted lady is a gemini ginger (oh god), and she has got something to say!