Growing ginger in containers in New Zealand is surprisingly easy. You just need to keep in mind that in its original place in southern China it was growing in tropical conditions. So now we need to replicate warm conditions, plenty of sun but also some shade, no frost, no soggy soil but plenty of water. October is a great time to start.
I was surprised a couple of years ago when I found how easy it is to be growing ginger in containers in Wellington.
Ginger is a perennial (it will keep growing from year to year). The edible part grows out of sight, under the surface of the soil. The long, lush leaves will grow to about 80 cm in length.
Growing ginger in a GreenSmart planter in a hot house works fine for me but you can also grow ginger inside the house in the self watering planters.
Start with a fresh looking ‘hand’ of ginger and cut off some of the fingers with visible growing tips. This one was a Thai brand from the supermarket. I am going to grow six of these growing tip fingers in one planter.
The next step is to add a 40 litre bag of potting mix into the GreenSmart planter then mix in a combination of potting mix, plenty of well decomposed compost, sheep manure pellets, Yates Dynamic Mixer etc.
Position the planter where it is going to get plenty of warmth and some dappled shade later.
Cover the pieces of ginger with about 4 cm of soil, moisten the soil, then fill the water reservoir with 12 litres of water and leave it. You wont need to add any more water for 6-7 weeks. You can also add mulch over the top layer to reduce moisture loss through the summer.
Growing Baby Ginger
Have a look at the beautiful pink blush colouring of this baby ginger.
Like new potatoes, young ginger has almost translucent skin that rubs right off. It’s less fiery and fibrous than gnarled roots and easier to cook with since no peeling is required. It’s mild enough to even eat raw. The whole root freezes well, for grating into soups and stews throughout the winter.
So we can see that growing ginger is very easy. How about harvesting? Simple…. just burrow your finger tips down into the soil and gently break off some of the roots. Then you will be able to leave the remainder in the ground until you want to pick more.
This next shot shows what the main crop looked like when I pulled it out. I had already been harvesting some of the previous couple of months. I was surprised at how easy it was to accidentally break the rhizomes as I dug them out.