Ginger is a strong tasty rhizome that has become a staple in many households across the USA, regardless of your cuisine and background. It enhances the flavor of any dish, tenderizes meats, and even offers a host of health benefits.
Something even more alluring than using ginger in your kitchen is getting year-long supplies straight from your garden!
But you can’t just go ahead and start planting ginger in your garden immediately. You need to be aware of certain factors that can impact Ginger’s growth
Best Soil to Grow Ginger
What kind of soil does ginger need? Ginger needs loose, slightly acidic loamy soil which is rich in organic matter.
Growing ginger would require the basic essentials that are a soil that drains well, is mineral-rich, and of course, generous amounts of water. Nutrients and moisture stimulate photosynthesis which in turn results in the growth of foliage and roots.
If these requirements are not met, you may see yellowing of leaves, stunted growth, deformities, etc.
Here are few type of soil that you can choose.
Loam is every gardener’s dream. This soil predominantly consists of sand and silt with a small concentration of clay. The specific ratios in this soil guarantee a fertile soil that drains well. It can be used for flowering plants and vegetable crops including ginger.
Potting mixes are available in a variety of options, catering to your specific needs. Be it well-draining soil, poor-draining soil (highly water-retaining), or one that contains a higher amount of a certain mineral. All are available and it is up to you to choose.
You can easily use a well-draining soil potting mix soil from a department store to grow ginger in abundance!
Compost is a great soil that incorporates good drainage and high nutrient compositions. The best part is that you can make it yourself! In case soil in your garden is not.
Factors required in the soil for best growth
Ginger is renowned for its rhizomes which are situated underground. To allow the free growth of these important rhizomes, the soil must be crumbly and airy.
Loose soil particles allow the plant to expand its presence below ground. Air is an important resource for chemical reactions in the roots.
Soil that has large spaces lets the remaining water seep into the ground, therefore preventing water-logging. Accumulation of water in the soil can prevent air from entering the soil leading to suffocation of the root system. It may become saturated with moisture and decay.
Soils with good amounts of sand, compost, vermiculite, perlite are your most ideal soil types for growing ginger.
pH is a measure of how acidic or basic your soil is, and it is a factor that can not be ignored. Ginger would do best in slightly acidic soil that has a pH in the range of 5.5 to 6.5.
A pH lower than 5.5 implies the soil is too acidic while a pH above 6.5 means the soil is increasingly basic. Correct your soil pH levels by using certain acidic or basic compounds.
- Make your soil more basic by adding calcium carbonate or dolomite. Both can be added in controlled concentration to reach optimum pH levels.
- Increase your soil’s acidic levels by adding natural materials such as coffee blends, elemental garden Sulphur, or natural homemade compost mixtures.
Water can never be enough for your ginger plants, only except if they are drowning (literally!). Ginger loves to be in moist soil, but never wet or flooded conditions. If your soil is wet and appears to never dry out, something needs to be done to help the soil.
In case you find your ginger area is wet or flooded even though you are very conscious of your watering regime, it is not your fault.
The reason can be that the soil may contain a high clay concentration. Clay soils are not prescribed as they retain water.
Amend poor draining soils by adding organic matter such as compost or peat moss. You could also try certain techniques like planting on mounds.
As you approach the time to harvest ginger, slow down on watering.
All crop plants require decent levels of nutrients for a good harvest. Ginger is no exception to the rule. Nutrients are just as important as all the other factors required to grow good ginger.
Malnutrition and mineral deficiencies can lead to deformities and stunting, both of which affect your final output quantity and quality.
To witness thriving ginger plants, you must provide enough Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorous, and Sulphur. You can further add Calcium since ginger is a heavy calcium feeder.
Of course, you may not be aware of the levels of minerals already present in the ground. So you can use readymade soil profile kits that can help.
Growing ginger requires pest free soil that has been aerated and fertilized prior to planting. Pests such as nematodes can remain viable in the soil for extended periods of time. Rotating your plants in the garden can guard against these pests that affect ginger.
Make sure soil is free of animal waste (if you have pets).
Mulch proves to be an important aspect of soil when growing ginger. Adding a thick layer of mulch does wonders to protect the ginger rhizomes.
A variety of conditions such as wind, watering, and animal pests, lead to the slow depletion of soil that covers the underground ginger. Because of this, rhizomes could be left exposed to the elements.
The layer of mulch can help to avoid such situations. Mulch made from organic materials such as straw or leaves can assist ginger plants by retaining moisture and preventing drying out of rhizomes during heat seasons.
Mulching is vital for all crops that are planted and cultivated on fields (for retail purposes). Mulch options include leaves, straw, wood chips, animal manure, grass clippings, and even plastic film.
Best Climate to Grow Ginger
Ginger mostly exists in tropical regions where there is not much wind but rather dense foliage which stimulates a warm and wet ecosystem. Ginger is not a natural indigenous plant in the USA.
But by getting as close to these climatic conditions, it is possible to grow a domesticated version of edible ginger. People who live in USDA Zones 7 to 11 are able to grow ginger in the ground all year round, assuring fresh ginger in your household.
People who lack the best climate can grow ginger indoors in pots to combat colder temperatures.
Let us look at the few climate factors for affecting ginger growth.
Ginger is extremely temperature-sensitive and anything below 50℉ is unacceptable especially if it drops below this during the night.
Ginger does well when grown in the temperature ranges of 75℉ to 85℉ (24 to 29℃ and up). This usually implies USDA Zones 7 to 11 are eligible for ginger growing.
A few states in the USA that are able to grow ginger year-round without any difficulty:
- Hawaii (produces the most ginger due to tropical climate)
- South Arizona
- South California
- Parts of Texas and Louisiana
Areas with colder temperatures require indoor ginger growing or special artificially induced heat to make the conditions suitable for ginger plants. Freezing temperatures can push ginger into a hibernating state.
Humidity acts as a secondary source of moisture for ginger plants. It is the amount of water in gaseous form suspended in the air. Ginger may not grow well in drier areas and requires high humidity for best growth.
It is also important to spray indoor ginger plants with a water sprayer to ensure they remain moist and comfortable.
Ginger is not a full sunshine kind of plant. Instead, a combination of sunlight and shade is what you need to grow ginger. A few hours of sunlight a day is enough to support the plant. But, for the majority of the day, shade is preferable.
If your garden or field does not naturally have shady areas, you can use tall plants that have enough foliage to shelter your ginger plants.
Companion plants for ginger offer many more benefits other than shady canopies. Some offer pest resistance or even stimulate better growth and rhizome formation. While others may even benefit by being grown with ginger plants.
What conditions do ginger plants like?
Ginger likes weather that is as close as possible to tropical and subtropical areas. This means that hot and humid conditions are ideal for ginger. Apart from this, a few hours of sunlight would be required for growth.
How to grow ginger in water
You cannot completely grow ginger in water as it requires soil for nutrients and a steady supply of sunlight. Though it is possible to germinate your ginger in a water bath.
Moisture and a dark area are enough to initiate sprouting of the ginger growth points (eyes). Once the ginger has sprouted and stems and leaves are visible, you would need to transplant them to a container with soil.