Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Harvesting ginger

Up until last year I was not very successful at growing ginger.  I don't know why exactly but feel I may have tried growing it at the wrong time of year.   It grows here during the wet season, and last wet season I managed to get some shoots going, and then more and more, and pretty soon I had a whole bed of ginger.  How marvelous!   I do use a lot of ginger and I figured that even if ginger was the only thing I harvest out of my garden it would make my vegetable gardening productive.  then it started to flower..

 Two different kinds of flower.....this one didn't have the red edging

Flowering means it is ready to harvest.  (I have been harvesting bits for quite a while already - ooops! ) The problem was - did I want to harvest it all at once or just store it in the ground until needed?  I asked a lot of other people, and mostly  decided that I was growing a lot more ginger than others and so the problem of too much ginger simply did not happen too often.  I have been letting it sit in the corner minding its own business for now, and the leaves have been going brown and the pretty little flowers have been sprouting everywhere.  Anytime I need ginger I go and dig some up, then cut off a little shoot and stick it back in again.  It seemed to be working well, although I had been harvesting haphazardly and wasn't sure which ones I had harvested..   I should have had some sort of sequence. We have a very good television show every week and I think my question was answered.  If ginger stays too long in the ground it can get very tough and fibrous. So I  decided that since the leaves are going brown I better harvest a huge amount and store it in my fridge.  I will be keeping a fair amount going in the garden though because heaven forbid I go back to the days of having to buy ginger from the supermarket ever again! I got almost a kilo of lovely fresh clean ginger. This keeps perfectly in the freezer in Ziploc bags.  When I need some I just remove a knob and grate it - the skin is so soft it doesn't even need peeling.  At 29.95 a kilo that is a pretty good haul. 
I re-planted the entire bed in rows, and hope to harvest in a bit more organised way this time, since some of what I dug up had only just been planted.  I think I will move from one side to the other once I run out of frozen garlic and have to raid the garden once again.
goodbye forever to paying exorbitant prices for fresh ginger!


  1. Nothing beats getting your food from your own garden. You know where it came from and you know how it was grown. Plus you don't have to buy it. Congratulations on your plentiful harvest.

  2. Oh, how wonderful you can grow gingers in your own garden! I also use lots of gingers in my Chinese food cooking. Hmmm, now I need to find out if I also can grow ginger in South Florida? Can I just use the store bought ginger to plant? How big is the ginger plant? How long do you have to wait to harvest after you plant? Oops, too many questions! :)

  3. The edible gingers are not something I've tried oto grow. But oh, I do love using ginger in my cooking. You really got a very nice harvest and isn't it convenient you can keep it in your freezer for whenever you need it!

  4. I had a similar questions to Ami. Sorry.
    Did you just plant ginger root? I saw plants for sale at a market recently but think it's too cold at the moment here to try to grow it. Sounds like it's best to plant in early Summer. Is that correct?

  5. I love fresh ginger. Your homegrown ginger looks far fresher than any I have ever purchased. It is incredibly expensive to buy and I always wonder why.

  6. My mother always have some ginger in a little corner of the property, and we just get one whenever needed. But of course when they mature we dig them and store (not in refrigerator if still needed for planting, just in some dry and unlighted place). We love ginger too. However, i don't often see them flowering.

  7. Oh that's fabulous AA - how did you start it off? Just stuck some ginger in the ground?

    I have Thai ginger growing and have no idea when/how etc to harvest it... but I like the look of yours a whole lot better!

  8. Fresh ginger is so nice fried together with any dish. Lovely rhizomes you harvested. I never can grow them well here in Adelaide.

  9. I grow ginger too but I have not seen any flowers before. I harvest only when I need them. It's less than USD2 per kilo. Wonder why the vast difference in price.

  10. Fresh ginger would be heavenly.... would love for you to share how you use it!

  11. Just a note to tell you I shifted "My Philosophy" to be published tomorrow,as I wanted to put my son Alex's ipod apps on today. You must have commented about 2 seconds after I posted it, before I rescheduled it! Sorry!
    Wish I could grow ginger but I do have galangal doing ok... from a rooted piece someone gave me. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

  12. Wow great harvest. I have some growing along with tumeric and galangal but they are too young to be harvested.

  13. Solitude Rising,
    I do better with the more tropical vegetables (not surprisingly) but appreciate everything I manage to harvest.
    Ami, you should be able to grow it during the summer, and I think I did better when I bought it from a farmers market. Sometimes what you buy in the supermarket can be sprayed with inhibitors that will stop it growing. Click on ginger in the cloud of my posts. You will see the little knobs starting to form on the ones I grew here. They only grow about 2 feet high.
    Meems,I am sure to get a better harvest now that I am more organised :)
    Missy, yes you should see shoots starting and those are the best to plant. Mine will probably sit semi-dormant until summer, but in your area they will probably die right back.
    Yours is probably grown in Natal, but you have that lovely green house where your orchids are doing so well, you might try some in summer.
    So she doesn't leave it in the ground year round? I just figured this was an easy way to do it, hope it works!
    Is that galangal you are growing as thai ginger? It can get very big and take over. It is the same family, just a bit tougher (needs to be peeled) and more peppery. When you need some just dig a piece out - you will have to cut it away from the main plant - I use loppers for this. See the cloud for more info.
    Malay-Kadazan, you might also have to grow them in a greenhouse and keep them wet, but keep trying.
    One, maybe more people grow it there? Although you would think more people would grow it here....
    I use it in pretty much everything, (curries, stir fries etc) I will have to post some recipes in my recipe blog.
    I am amazed that you are growing galangal in Tasmania!
    My tumeric is totally dormant right now. I am sure yours will all take off this summer. I look forward to photos of your abundant harvests.

  14. I too grow my own ginger. And I saw the same Gardening Australia show about harvesting before they get too tough. In my case I'm trying to get a huge crop so I think I should leave them in the ground to spread. Or do you think digging them up and splitting them would yield better results?

    Is there anything I need to do to get the ginger to flower? Mine never has. Maybe they don't in Sydney?

    My experience is limited. I grew some in pots (from ginger purchased at my local green grocer) when I was living in Darwin. I only lived there 1 year so didn't have much time to get a great harvest, but I did harvest some.

    Now back in Sydney I planted again (also from normal ginger from my green grocer) last November and I have a lot of plants. After the GA TV show I went outside and dug around to see how a few of them were doing - mainly those that had dying stems. I'd say each bulb is about 3 times what it was when I planted. If you count my losses maybe I've doubled what I planted. I guess I didn't expet any more than that in half a year.

    My local green grocer just had 500 g bags of ginger on sale for $5. I couldn't pass it up. I bought a bag which is now sitting in a dark spot hopefully about to shoot. I'll plant the lot.

    In my case it's impossible to have too much ginger. I make my own ginger beer (a really easy recipe that takes about 2-3 weeks in a warm climate to finish) and in the summer I go through a large clump of ginger every week. Not to mention using it in cooking!

  15. Just curious - how do you store ginger without it going dry? Should I put it in ziplock bags in the freezer?


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