Ginger root is used fresh and dried to flavor many recipes, especially in Asian dishes. The ginger plant is also an attractive ornamental for the landscape, growing primarily in tropical and sub-tropical areas with mild winters. Zingiber officinale is the main type of edible ginger grown in home gardens, and the same type sold at grocery stores. Plant a ginger root in your yard in early spring and begin enjoying the fresh root in as little as one year.
Prepare a well-drained planting area that receives partial or filtered sunlight. An area under light tree shade is suitable for ginger plants. Lay a 3-inch layer of compost over the planting bed and till it in to a 10-inch depth to improve drainage and soil quality.
Plant the ginger root 1 inch deep in the soil. Space multiple plants 12 inches apart in the bed so the roots have room to spread.
Water thoroughly after planting, then lay a 3-inch layer of bark or straw mulch over the garden bed. Mulching preserves soil moisture. Continue to water weekly, providing 1 to 2 inches of water at each irrigation. Avoid letting the soil dry out, but also do not let it become overly soggy.
Weed the bed regularly, as ginger does not compete well with other plants. Pull weeds by hand and avoid digging in the soil to remove weeds as this can damage the ginger roots.
Harvest ginger in the second year once the plant has died back and gone dormant for winter, usually in late fall. Dig up and remove the root sections on the outside of the plant, leaving the central roots where the stems emerge in the ground to regrow.
Top dress the ginger bed with a fresh 1-inch layer of compost each spring to add nutrients back into the soil. Replace the mulch to rebuild the 3-inch mulch layer around each plant.