image by pachd.com/free-images/food-images-6.html
Ginger is a spicy sweet rhizome often used in culinary circles to add a spicy fragrance to foods in many preparations. In stores, it is usually sold in the produce department as a tuber without any leaves. Instead of trying to find it in garden stores, try starting your own ginger plant from these rhizomes. It is easier than you think and pretty soon you will be harvesting all the ginger you can use. This is best done in the early spring to give the plant at least eight months of growing time.
Place your rhizome in a dish of water so that it is covered. Let it sit overnight so that any growth retardant that might have been sprayed on it has a chance to dissolve. Rinse the ginger with clean water after it has finished soaking and when you are ready to plant it.
Pour about 2 inches of gravel into the plant pot you will be using to grow your ginger plant. If you live in a tropical climate, you can plant directly in the ground during late winter, but otherwise it will need the warmth of your home while the outside temperature warms up. The gravel will provide the drainage necessary to keep water from standing in the pot. If the hole in the bottom of the pot is too large, cover it with a piece of broken tile or pottery to keep the gravel from falling out.
Add enough soil to the pot so that it is filled to within an inch of the top. Pull away the soil so that the ginger root can sit about an inch below the surface of the soil. Check to make sure that any buds are facing up as that is where the first leaves will pop out. Cover the root back over with the soil that was pulled back. Tap it down so that the soil has good contact with the root.
Water the newly planted ginger until you see it running out the bottom of the pot. You will want to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Set the plant in a warm and sunny window where it will get indirect sunlight. Once the soil outside has warmed to about 65 degrees F, you can bury the pot in the soil in a spot where it is sheltered from the wind and direct sun.
Allow the plant to grown for about eight months, bringing it indoors for the last few weeks if the outside air gets too cold. The leaves will start to wilt and drop at which point you will stop watering it. This will force the plant to form healthy rhizomes for the next growing season.
Let the plant become dormant until the next growing season or remove the rhizomes from the pot and clean with cool water and a soft vegetable brush. Dry the surface and store them in a plastic baggie in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator until you are ready to plant it again or to use it in cooking. If you leave it outside or in the potted soil, it will form a mat of rhizomes after a few years that will produce a bunch of fragrant leaves and delicious-flavored ginger root.