Growing ginger (NL: Gember)

Have you ever tried to grow ginger (NL: gember)?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a great herb to use in all seasons but I find it especially useful in the autumn and winter. It adds a gentle warmth to food, stokes up the digestive fire and stimulates the circulation.  It has been used medicinally since ancient times and is still employed for many ailments.  I love to add freshly grated, or powdered, ginger to a mug of hot lemon and honey, as a cold remedy. I also find ginger biscuits or chunks of crystallised ginger very helpful against nausea (though not against motion sickness).  It is also very tasty!

Ginger features strongly in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and it is quite common in parts of India to eat a little sliced ginger, soaked in lemon juice, before a meal or a little crystallised ginger afterwards.  I do find that this really helps me to digest a meal more effectively, especially a heavy meal.

Ginger rhizome in pot of compost, buds just showing.
Ginger in pot of moist compost

I found a forgotten piece of ginger (a rhizome) in my kitchen this weekend and was delighted to see that it had started to show signs of life. Three green tinged buds had started to form so I decided to help them along.  Jekka’s Complete Herb Book provides simple instructions about how to encourage fresh ginger to grow, so today potted it up and hope to add a healthy ginger plant to my indoor herb collection very soon.

Ginger in pot and plastic bag
Ginger in pot and plastic bag

I cut the rhizome about 5cm below the first bud with a sharp knife and placed it in a small pot of moistened compost, with the buds facing upwards.  The buds are just covered in compost. I then placed the pot in a small plastic bag, and placed it in my airing cupboard.  Jekka recommends leaving the pot at 20 oC  and hopefully after around three weeks shoots will start to emerge.  I shall let you know how it goes.


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