Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a spice that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. But growing it in colder climates is more challenging than growing it in warmer areas of the world. You can grow ginger in cold climates, but it takes a lot of careful maintenance.
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How to Grow Ginger in Winter?
There’s no doubt about it; growing ginger in colder climates is a lot more challenging than growing it in warmer regions. When we talk about growing ginger, we’re talking about growing rhizomes, which are the underground stems that produce roots and shoots. The root’s primary job is to supply water and nutrients to the growing shoot. If the shoots aren’t supplied with adequate moisture and nutrients, then the plant will fail to grow. So what should you do? Well, there are a couple of things you can do to help ensure that your ginger plants grow strong and robustly.
In this post, I share a few cold-climate gardening techniques for growing ginger.
Create a Warm-Climate Container
To encourage the growth of your ginger, you’ll need to build a warm, dark, and moist environment for the plant to thrive in. These conditions can be achieved by either covering the entire pot with a clear plastic bag and placing it in a warm location by cutting out a hole in the lid and using a small light bulb to provide sufficient light.
Growing Ginger Indoors
You can grow your ginger indoors in any climate if you’re willing to plan. Most people think that growing ginger needs hot, tropical climates, but that’s not true. As long as you have a spot where you can grow in the sun, you can successfully grow ginger indoors. If you want to grow ginger in colder climes, then you’ll need to be prepared to provide your plant with enough heat.
Grown indoors in a cool climate, the plant will produce a more flavorful root than one that is grown outdoors.
Grow Ginger in a Tropical Container
Growing ginger in containers is relatively easy and fun. Ginger is a perennial plant, meaning it will grow back every year if you give it a chance. Growing ginger in a tropical container is one of the easiest ways to keep the roots warm in the cold winter months.
Ginger also needs plenty of sunlight, but it’s shade tolerant. This means it can be grown in pots with less than perfect soil and still flourish. Plant the rhizome in a large container filled with rich potting soil made of compost and sphagnum peat moss. Be sure to place the rhizome on top of the soil mix, so that its upper side is slightly out of the ground.
A ginger rhizome will only grow a few leaves that will reach about two to three feet in height. In the spring, the leaves will begin to bloom and the plant will start producing the root portion. The plant will also produce new leaves in the fall, which will turn brown and die back. You can propagate ginger rhizomes from the roots by simply dividing them.
Care for ginger
While this may be a surprise to some, caring for your ginger is pretty simple. Just make sure you keep the root in a cool, dark place and away from direct sunlight and your ginger will last for many months without spoiling. The key here is that you don’t let your ginger touch any other fruit or vegetable. Instead, you want to put it in its own space. If you’re going to grow your ginger, you should do so in a container or a sunny area with good air circulation.
Harvesting of ginger
The biggest challenge in harvesting fresh ginger in colder climates is the length of time it takes to mature the plant. In tropical regions, the plants are ready to be harvested when they are the size of a grapefruit. In cooler climates, the plants grow to their full size and then the roots begin to harden and take on a brown color.
Tips for growing ginger in a cold climate
- Create an environment that is warm, moist, and dark with rich soil.
- Start your seedlings indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date.
- Space out your plants by at least 12 inches and add plenty of light to the pots.
- Water regularly to ensure adequate growth.
- Don’t cover plants or give them too much fertilizer.
- Harvest ginger leaves when they start to turn green, then again when they turn brown.
- After you harvest, dry the leaves with a paper towel to prevent the leaves from molding.
In conclusion, you need to use cold frames during the early months to help create a micro-climate that keeps plants warm and moist. You can also use heat mats or even a heating blanket to keep the inside warmer.
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