Ginger has been used as an herb in foods and medicinal remedies for thousands of years. It has a distinctive scent and taste that is pungent and aromatic. While at one time the easiest way to obtain ginger was powdered in a jar, fresh ginger can now be purchased whole in most grocery stores. The ginger root that is sold is actually a rhizome, a type of stem that grows underground. If planted, these rhizomes will sprout and you can grow them at home. Not only will ginger root provide fresh ginger for cooking, it also bears a beautiful flower.
Obtain ginger rhizomes from your local grocery store or farmer's market. You can also purchase ginger rhizomes from plant catalogs or try your local garden center.
Make sure the rhizomes are fresh and plump. Look for growth buds called eyes, similar to those on potatoes. These will resemble little horns at the end of each branch.
Soak the ginger rhizome in water overnight to rehydrate it and to wash off any growth retardant of pesticides that might be on them.
Remove the inner wood under the bark of the bud by gently squeezing the cutting until the wood comes loose. Do not let the newly removed bud dry out.
Prepare a mixture of equal amounts of potting soil and sand as a planting medium. Fill a large flower pot with the mixture and water so that the soil is damp, but not wet.
Cut or break pieces off the rhizome, ensuring that each piece has a couple of eyes on it. Plant each piece 5 to 10 centimeters deep, with the eyes facing up. Water them in.
Place the pot in a warm area with plenty of sun to encourage growth. Water regularly to keep the soil damp, but not wet.
Once your ginger sprouts, spray the plant regularly to provide the proper humidity.
Continue to grow your ginger as a house plant or, if your area will support ginger, plant it outdoors in a shady, but well-lit area in the late winter or early spring.
Work a good all-purpose, timed-release fertilizer into the soil. Water regularly and mulch the area heavily to provide better moisture retention.
Harvest your ginger by reducing waterings and letting the leaves die back in the late summer or early fall. Dig the rhizomes carefully, trim the leaves and stems off and store in your refrigerator.