Can You Grow Ginger In The UK? These Tips Are All You Need!

From growing bananas, coriander and strawberries to having your own runner beans, being a gardener is an amazing thing! Wanna learn something new? Ginger is one of the most popular dietary condiments on the planet. Little is known about the origins of ginger cultivation. Historians believe the plant was produced by humans and did not occur naturally in its current form. It is commonly found in Indian and Asian cuisines, and its therapeutic properties are thought to boost the immune system and treat stomach issues.

Ginger on a wooden table

Ginger is a potent tropical vegetable with a plethora of health benefits and is surprisingly easy to grow at home. By the time you finish reading this guide, you will be able to grow ginger and enjoy that fiery spice from its roots.

About ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a herbaceous perennial plant. It’s mostly planted for the subterranean stems, or bulbs, which can be eaten raw or processed into a typical dry spice. This is an unusual plant because it is not found in the wild. Rather, it can only be found in cultivated areas. It was most likely initially grown some 5,000 years ago by Pacific Islanders. It was first introduced to Europe during the early days of the spice trade.

The plant will eventually reach a height of 30 to 100cm. It produces slender pseudo-stems, which can be harvested for a secondary product known as stem ginger. When the plants are grown in temperate areas, inflorescences of yellow and purple flowers bloom on branches that sprout independently from the bulbs, though these are rarely observed.

When is the right time to plant it?

The best time to start growing ginger at home would be early spring, after the last frost, or the beginning of the wet season if you reside in the tropics. 

It takes ten months to mature and is not frost resistant. If you live somewhere where it gets cold in the winter, growing ginger in a large pot indoors and putting it outside in the summer is a good idea.

How to plant ginger step-by-step

Growing ginger is easy and does not require expert knowledge:

Planting ginger in pot

Step 1

Purchase a rhizome of ginger. This is just a fresh ginger root that you can buy at the grocery store. You’ll need to choose a well-developed chunk. Look for growth buds, which are little nodules similar to what resembles the beginnings of potato growth.

Step 2

Soak the fresh root in water for a few minutes. Supermarkets extend the life of ginger root by spraying it with a growth inhibitor that stops nodules from forming. Soaking in water for a day or two to remove this is highly recommended. Soaking the root in water until the roots appear, on the other hand, is counterproductive. 

The emerging roots will be happier in the soil, where they will be able to breathe properly right away and will not be disturbed by later transfer. Remember that the bulbs will easily root in a moist potting mix.

Step 3

Break your ginger root into small pieces, with a growing bud in each piece. After that, you’ll need to put them in a seed tray with moist potting soil. You’ll need to feed them and make sure they have good drainage. The end of winter is a wonderful time to start this process.

You can complete this technique at any time of year if you continue to develop the plant indoors. If you’re going to plant your ginger outside, keep in mind that it won’t survive the winter. Be mindful that any type of heating, particularly central heating, can cause the air to become dry. As a result, you should mist the plant with water on a frequent basis to raise the humidity level.

Growing ginger in a pot

Step 4

You can transplant these into a pot or the ground once they’ve been sown. If you want your ginger to thrive, you’ll need good soil that’s rich in nutrients and moisture. Otherwise, the roots may very well rot. Also, it needs sufficient water to quench its thirst.

Your plant will be completely grown in eight to ten months if it receives the much-loved light away from the full sun. At its tallest, the plant will be around a metre. So, you’ll need to give adequate space for it to grow. It has a restricted reach. Remember, the spice we’re used to seeing in our meals is the root. Some of your roots may be saved for transplanting your next crop.

All about proper care

Given that ginger is a tropical plant that can survive in partial to full shade, it’s vital to maintain good growing conditions at all times:

1. Keep the soil moist at all times

After planting, give it a light watering. Check the soil on a daily basis and water just before it fully dries out. Soggy loose soil may quickly damage your houseplants, so if water does not drain quickly, limit watering or increase drainage.

2. Keep an eye out for germination

Ginger takes a long time to grow, especially outside of the tropics. If you’re lucky, a sprout will appear within a few days, but keep watering for at least a couple of weeks before giving up on the plant. After germination, continue to water the plants the same way you did before.

3. Fertilise on a monthly basis 

Fertilising the ginger isn’t necessary if it’s grown in rich soil, especially if you’ve added compost. First, have the soil analysed and then fertilise as needed. Fertilise with a modest dose of full liquid fertiliser once a month if your soil is weak or you want to increase yield.

Farming of ginger

4. Mulch outdoor ginger

Mulch will keep the ginger warm while also fighting weeds, which in turn can quickly outcompete ginger growing. If soil temperatures fall below 10°C throughout the growing season, a heavy layer of mulch will be needed.

5. Let the soil dry as the stems die 

As the temperature drops in late summer or early autumn, the stems of the ginger plant turn yellow. As the stems die, reduce the amount of water you give them and eventually stop. If the growing season is short, the ginger plant may not flower for the first year-round after planting.

6. Allow the plant to mature before harvesting

Allowing ginger to mature in the ground gives it a much stronger flavour. Dig up the ginger bulb when the stalks have died, which should be at least 8 months after planting ginger.

Keep in mind that cutting off some bits of the plant for cooking will not kill the plant. Young ginger is occasionally collected, generally for pickling, 3 to 4 months after planting,

It is worth noting that it must be picked with caution because young ginger‘s skin is thinner and more easily bruised. To cut the plant, use a sterilised knife.

7. Always be ready for the cold weather

Unless you live in the tropics, it’s best to bring the ginger indoors for the winter. Given that it is a perennial plant in warm areas, ginger seldom survives frost. Store in a cool, dry place. If you’re going to leave the ginger outside, cover it with a heavy layer of compost as soon as the temperature drops below 10°C.

How to harvest ginger the right way

To harvest this plant, either dig up the entire plant or cut off a section of the rhizome. Then, give it a thorough wash and you are good to go.

Newly harvest ginger in sack bag

1. Harvest ginger in the autumn

Ginger should be planted in the early spring or summer in most areas. This provides ample opportunity for the plant to absorb heat and build a large root system.

By the middle or end of the autumn months, the plant will be mature and ready to be removed from the ground. After two months, your plants should begin to establish roots. They can be collected at any point of maturity, but after 8-10 months, they are at their best.

2. Harvest only after your ginger has finished flowering

After completing a flowering cycle, most ginger cultivars will be ripe and ready to harvest. The blossoms will fade and fall away from the shrub as time goes by. The leaves will then dry out and the blooms will come in a variety of colours.

3. Dig a circle around the green sprouts with a hand trowel

Dig 5-10 cm to the side of the sprouts in a circle with a trowel and your hands until you find the rhizome. It should be quite easy to see because it will appear white or light brown against the deeper colour of the soil. You won’t have to dig for long because most ginger rhizomes aren’t very deep.

4. Remove the ginger plant from the soil

After you’ve exposed the root system, gently pull the entire plant out of the dirt with your trowel. It’s fine if you tear away sections of the root when tugging upwards.

Dig the shattered portions out of the soil with your shovel. Grab the green shoots and pull them firmly to assist you in extracting the plant from the soil.

Hand holding some newly harvested ginger

5. Take out one piece of ginger at a time

While digging, look for rhizomes and cut off an end piece with your trowel if you find one. The ginger will then mature and develop as you fill the hole with soil. 

This is an excellent method to get ginger for a meal quickly and easily. It merely takes a few minutes and has no negative effects on the plant. Dig slightly to one side or the other if you don’t find a rhizome with your first small hole.

Now, it is all up to you. Don’t take our word for it. Give it a try yourself! Growing your own ginger is simple, rewarding, and enjoyable. Your garden will be one step closer to becoming complete and the best one out there!

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