“Spiky above and bulbous below, it spells goodness in all its glory
But growing a shoot, from stub of a root, can prove to be quite a story”
This rooting herb is central to Indian cooking, rich in nutritional and medicinal value and easy to grow. A must-have in any urban farm in Mumbai!
SEASONS: Ginger is a seasonal plant. It is well suited to tropical climates and can be sown and grown easily in Mumbai all year round.
PROPAGATING: This plant is easily propagated from fresh, unrefrigerated rhizomes or root segments. It can be planted year round but keeping in mind that its growth will slow down in winter and it has an 8 month growth cycle, aim to plant in June for full harvest by March of the next year.
GERMINATING: Ginger in not germinated but planted out straightaway.
PLANTING OUT: Choose root segments which have at least 1 or 2 nodes. Plant a few inches below soil surface in slightly acidic, well-drained but moist, and well-composted, loose soil in a warm, shady spot that is sheltered from the wind. Segments can be planted about 8-10 inches apart to leave space for roots to grow out. Ginger will grow well on open plots but containers are preferable (at least 12 inches deep) as they keep the soil moist and are convenient for harvesting.
NURTURING: First shoots will emerge from your planted root segments within 1-2 weeks. Ginger is a slow-growing plant and cannot be hurried along. However, it requires minimal nurturing as it discourages weeds, and is rarely preyed on by insects, birds or other pests. Rodents may be a bit of a problem if they take a liking to its roots, especially newly planted root segments. As your ginger plant grows, prune off dry side leaves regularly and loosen the soil from time to time, to allow space for its roots to spread out and grow fat.
HARVESTING: Harvest your ginger roots (or more correctly, rhizomes, as its roots grow off the rhizomes) when the plant is mature. It will actually show you when it is mature by giving out signs of dying – browning of leaves, and wilting of stems. This will occur any time between 6-8 months of growth. If in open plot soil, use a broad shovel to dig out the entire plant. If in a container, upturn the container and excavate the entire plant. Chop off extraneous parts and wash roots well. Scrub and refrigerate fresh ginger for food preparations. Otherwise prepare ginger powder by soaking overnight, peeling, then drying for a week, and finally grinding into powder form. Once you have harvested and composted the plant, replenish the soil ad use that space for growing fruiting or leafing veggies.
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