We do a lot of cooking here, and much of it uses ginger, not to mention my favorite drinks, the ginger mojito and ginger beer! A few years ago I planted a few pieces of ginger root I had bought at the Carrboro Farmer’s market, and we had quite a harvest. The ginger from that harvest was stored in the freezer and lasted until this summer. But this was the year to grow another crop. I located the source for seed ginger in Hilo Hawaii, placed my order, and received a box containing 2 pounds of ginger roots (more accurately, they were rhizomes). This isn’t the regular white ginger you see at the grocery store, this stuff is yellow and pink and is much more flavorful.
I received my seed ginger in March and sprouted the rhizomes in pots in the greenhouse, but I honestly don’t think it saved me much time because they just sat there doing nothing for the longest time and I think it was probably June before they sprouted and I planted them in the garden. I read that they are heavy feeders and like to stay moist, so I watered and fertilized them regularly throughout the summer.
But once the weather and the soil heated up the ginger started putting out shoots and by mid-summer it was really growing well. I let it grow until I saw that we had a chance of frost (10/30/2020) and then I dug it all up to see what was happening underground.
I had big arm loads of ginger plants and the roots looked good, but you never know until you wash off all that dirt!
Then I spread it all out. This shows less than 1/4th of it and this variety looked the best.
Of course that was only part of the work. Next, Flora cut off and discarded the tops.
Then a final trim and cleaning and we have the finished product, ready to package.
We found that ginger freezes really well and when thawed is not changed much from when it is fresh. Also, it tends to be easier to grate using a microplane about 5 minutes after being removed from the freezer, so we vacuum pack it, and into the freezer it goes.
I thought about setting some aside to plant for next year, but I think we packed about 25 pounds of it and that should be enough for several years. When we start to run low again, I will start all over again, and if I make ginger beer that might be sooner rather than later!