Ginger are a group of subtropical and tropical plants that are grown for their ornamental value and for their use in cooking. Pinecone ginger has unusual pinecone-shaped flowers and is one of the more showy ornamental varieties. Edible varieties, like ordinary cooking ginger, have a pungently scented root system that is used to flavor Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Although sometimes referred to as bulbs, the roots of these plants are fleshy roots called rhizomes. Plant ginger in early spring after no further chance of frost is expected in your area.
Purchase fresh ginger rhizomes from a reliable source. You can also have a friend give you fresh rhizomes, if he has access to an already established ginger plant. Just make sure the ginger rhizomes are both plump and fresh, advises Tropical Permaculture.
Choose a planting site for the ginger that will provide maximum light but with no direct sun exposure. The site should also be sheltered from wind, such as on the south side of your house, a shed or a garage.
Work the soil using a rototiller, garden fork or a shovel until the soil has been well cultivated. As you are cultivating the soil, remove any objects that can interfere with the growth of the ginger, such as rocks, roots, sticks or large clods of dirt.
Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of well-aged manure or leaf mold. For success in growing ginger, excellent drainage is a must. Adding organic matter to the soil is especially important if the soil is heavy and has less than ideal drainage. Incorporate the organic material into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil.
Cut the ginger into 1 1/2- to 2-inch-long sections using a sharp knife. Each section should have at least two growth nodules.
Dig out 1-inch deep planting holes for the ginger root sections in clumps of between 3 and 4, for a thick growth pattern of the ginger plants. Each hole should be approximately 4 to 5 inches apart and each clump of holes approximately 3 to 4 feet apart. For a more informal planting, dig holes between 6 and 8 inches apart.
Plant the ginger root sections so there is one section in each. Plant each section horizontally in the hole. Scoop approximately 1 inch of soil over each of the root sections.
Water the planting site with a fine, steady mist of water until you are sure it has reached a depth of about 1 inch. Keeping the planting site well watered throughout the summer growing season will be necessary because ginger likes plenty of moisture but not a soggy root system. The ginger should begin sprouting in approximately four to eight weeks, depending on conditions.