image by Jan Schöne/sxc.hu
Ginger grows from root sections known as rhizomes. The rhizome is also the part of the plant that is harvested to use as a spice in the kitchen. While you can attempt to grow ginger plants from grocery-store-purchased ginger root, be aware that it may be treated and therefore won't sprout. A better choice is to purchase ginger rhizomes from a seed catalog or nursery for planting in the garden. Unless you live in a climate with mild winters and little-to-no freezing weather, the easiest way to grow ginger is in a container that is simple to move indoors when the temperature plummets in winter.
Fill an eight-inch deep container with a six-to-eight inch circumference with potting compost mixed with a handful of sand. Choose a pot with drainage holes and a drip tray.
Cut apart the ginger root into one-to-two inch long sections with a sharp knife. Make sure each section you wish to plant has at least one visible eye or bud, similar in appearance to the eyes on a sprouting potato.
Set the rhizome pieces on newspaper in a cool place to dry. Drying cures the cut surfaces so they are less likely to rot in the ground.
Sow each rhizome in its own pot one inch beneath the soil surface. Plant so the eye faces up, as this is where the first shoot will come from.
Water thoroughly. Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Place the container in a shaded area as ginger cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
Move ginger outdoors after the last frost date for your area if desired. Keep it shaded and watered throughout the growing season.
Allow the ginger leaves to die back naturally in the fall. Bring inside and store in a cool, dry place.
Harvest ginger if desired by digging up the rhizomes after the leaves have died back. Keep the largest rhizomes with the most eyes for replanting in spring and use the rest in the kitchen.