I was intrigued by the idea of growing ginger so I bought a root that was sprouting and planted it in a container. Once it was snuggled down into some dark, moist compost I set the pot inside my conservatory and then waited and waited for it to start growing. After two months it finally sprouted a tiny bud and I thought it wouldn’t be long before it began sending up tall green stalks. However two weeks after that the rhizome started to shrivel and fall in on itself and so that experiment ended. I was disappointed but such is life when you’re trying to grow new plants.
I use ginger fairly regularly so continued to buy large pieces of it which I tend to store in the fruit basket in the kitchen until it’s cut. It never occurred to me to try growing ginger from the shop since it’s generally sprayed with an anti-sprouting compound which is supposed to make it useless for propagation. So you can imagine my surprise when the pieces I bought in June decided that they wanted to grow! Beautiful green buds with clearly visible leaf scales were sprouting up in several places along the top of the ginger.
Buds sprouting on store-bought ginger
Deciding to give the experiment another go, I settled some of it into the same pot I’d tried growing the seed-rhizome. Watering the ginger well I put it back in the conservatory and waited to see if it would continue to grow…or go the same way as the first one. I was delighted when just after a month one of the stalks grew to about six inches in height and another one was just beginning to put on height. Now two months on there are two green stalks well over a meter tall and the rhizomes are beginning to produce fresh new ginger. Even though it doesn’t have long to grow this year I’m still thinking of transplanting it to see if it will put on more bulk before the season is out.
After one month green stalks started to shoot up
I’ve had another look online and found that Kew Gardens gives some fairly detailed instructions on growing ginger in the UK. Apparently it’s grown more as an annual and they also say that ginger from shops sprouts readily – go figure. A clue to why my first rhizome didn’t do that well can also be found on their page; the plants tend not to survive British winters due to low temperature and light conditions. I’m guessing that because I planted the first rhizome so early it really didn’t have enough of either. Oh B&Q why are you selling this product so early and why didn’t you provide this information on the packet? It goes to show that you’ve got to get your information from more than once source when it comes to growing anything new.
Two-month old ginger shoots
Now that I’m in the know I’ll be watching for when my ginger foliage begins dying back, after which I’ll be able to harvest the entire rhizome. Come February I’ll be ready to start the process again by keeping a look-out for decent chunks of sprouted ginger at the supermarket – no more fussing with seed-rhizomes for me. With this new-found knowledge and with a few extra months of growth I think I can expect an easier and much larger harvest next autumn.