I’ve tried to grow ginger a few times, and had no luck with it until 1 1/2 years ago. My instincts were right to try with a piece of ginger that had a few eyes – the nobs of pale growth, not yet covered by the dry brown skin that’s on most ginger root, although my first efforts failed. Trial and error finally led me to success.
It’s important to find a piece of ginger that has nubs of new growth. Much ginger sold in grocery stores has been treated to inhibit new growth, and finding one with these growths is evidence that the ginger is untreated. Take your ginger home, and put it in a shallow dish with about 1/2″ of water. Let it stay there at least overnight. You can even replenish the water and leave it for a week or two until you have time for the next step. If you leave it for a longer period of time, it might start to send out roots – this is another sign that it wants to grow.
Plant the ginger in a good potting medium, in a wide, shallow pot. The ginger should be partly above ground or barely covered. Water it until the soil is moist, but not soggy. Before long, you’ll have green shoots growing. The grass-like stalks can get 3 to 4 feet tall, with alternate leaves. They do not withstand strong breezes, so I have staked mine with bamboo hoops.
I started this plant in a bulb pan in summer of 2016. All of the leaf stalks died over the following winter, and the plant resprouted in the spring. This summer, I repotted it into a larger, decorative pot with a drainage hole. I water it thoroughly once a week. Though I think it might prefer to be watered a little more often, it is happy enough that it’s sending up more leaf stalks, as you can see in the top photo.
To harvest, carefully scrape back some soil to uncover a mature part of the tuber, cut it, and gently pull it from the soil. There will be long roots as well as the ginger root we’re used to seeing. I left the cut end exposed to dry out, and will replace the soil when the cut no longer looks fresh.
Today was the first time I’ve tried harvesting any of my ginger, so I decided to exercise caution, and did not cut a very large piece – this is just enough to use in a recipe for pickled cranberries, for Thanksgiving. I will use the tender roots, as well as the more mature ginger root.