Sunday, January 20, 2013
Growing Ginger Indoors
Happy New Year everyone! I know the month is almost over and I haven't posted anything in awhile, but there have been some changes around here and I have been working hard to catch up. The biggest change is that I lost my job at the beginning of the month. The company I worked for had to make the unfortunate decision to downsize because of hard times. I was not expecting it, and at first it was a huge blow. But it has actually turned out to be a really great opportunity for me to focus on figuring out what I want to do with my life. I'm not really sure what that is at this very moment and I've spent some anxious moments looking for an answer. Right now I'm planning on getting as much freelance as I can and hope that can turn into a full-time thing, which would allow me the freedom to do more art and DIY projects. I'm still teaching and really loving that as well. I have such a feeling of positivity that I haven't felt in a really long time. I can't wait to find out what happens!
Well, speaking of DIY projects, today I am sharing with you one really great way to grow food in your house or apartment — ginger! Ginger is amazing for stomach problems and can help reduce inflammation in the body. If you brew your own kombucha just a tiny bit of juiced ginger can give it a really great flavor and increase the fizz factor. Growing your own ginger is really easy and does well indoors in low light as long as it is watered correctly (I'll get to that later).
To start you will need some organic ginger root, preferably local if possible. Check at your local farmer's market or health food store. In the Chicago area we have Fresh Picks—a company that distributes local produce—which is where I got mine. There are services like this in other areas you might check as well.
Next you will want to sprout your ginger. This takes some time, up to a month or two. To sprout, place your ginger on top of the dirt of any houseplant (hint: this is also a great way to store your ginger for eating) and water your plant as you normally would. I have a rosemary plant in my kitchen where I keep my ginger.
After some time you will start to see sprouts coming out of the nodes—the knobby parts of the ginger. This is the beginning of your plant! At this point you can pull the ginger out of the houseplant and prepare to plant it. To plant you just need a container of some sort (I used a terracotta pot I had around the house) and potting soil. First, cut the nodes that have sprouted from the rest of the root, leaving 1-2 inches of the root below the sprout. You can use the rest of the ginger for eating or to make more sprouts (if there are still more nodes on your root).
Press the ginger pieces into the soil so that the sprout is still above the dirt but the root is securely buried. This time I tried planting 7 roots in my 8" pot. Depending on your pot size you may be able to plant more or less, just make sure they are a few inches apart and you will be ok. Place the pot in a warmish place that gets sunlight. Water regularly, but make sure that there is no water standing in the tray. It is very important to water at regular intervals and to not over-water. If your home is dry mist the plant every few days.
Ginger plants will grow to about 3 feet tall. The best time to harvest is after the leaves have begun to die down, which can take 8-10 months. Because of the long wait time you might want to try planting one new plant every month so that you will have a constant supply of ginger at home. I harvested the ginger in the first pictures much earlier than this and because of that my root was much smaller than it could have been.
Have you ever tried growing ginger indoors? What other plants do you grow indoors?