First Ginger Harvest

First ginger harvest

More than a year after I rooted the rhizomes, I finally have my first ginger harvest!

I rooted the rhizomes back in October 2010 using store-bought ginger with healthy growing nubs. They overwintered in the ground and slowly started growing again this past spring, putting out new shoots and leaves and becoming lush, green plants just under 2 feet tall.

As temperatures cooled, the foliage died back naturally, indicating a good time to harvest. This happened right “on schedule,” as ginger is mature for harvest about eight months after planting. In climates with frost, ginger is normally planted in early spring so that it can be harvested in late fall when the foliage starts to die back. The mild winters in SoCal, however, allow for rhizomes to be left in the ground where they stay dormant until spring.

Ginger foliage dying back naturally in late fall to early winter

If I had let my plants overwinter again, the ginger would resume growing upon warmer weather and even start blooming. Most gardeners never see flowers on their ginger crop though, since they’re typically treated as annuals.

Once the leaves on my plant turned brown, I carefully dug around the withered stem until I found a knob of ginger poking out from the soil. If you’re very good, you can pull up the whole thing in one piece. I happen to not be very good, so I freed the ginger in random chunks.

Digging for ginger

Freshly harvested ginger

Ginger can be harvested piece by piece by digging up and breaking off a small section of the rhizome, leaving the rest underground to continue growing. A harvest around six months gives you baby ginger, which has a milder flavor and light, tender skin (without the rough outer peel). Or, you can pull up the whole clump at maturity, cut off what you need, and replant the remaining chunk, making sure you leave a couple of good sprouting buds on it.

After realizing I don’t like digging up thickly rooted plants, I decided to harvest all my rhizomes this week, and root new ones later this winter in a large container. That way, I can simply tip the whole container over next winter and hope for handfuls of ginger to come tumbling out!

Freshly harvested ginger

So there you have it. My first ginger harvest. They do clean up nicely!

Ginger harvest all cleaned up

Homegrown ginger root

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December 16 2011      17 comments     Linda Ly
Hierbas   Jardín

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  • Resty Farmer

    I remember my husband complained of upset stomach. When I suggested for him to drink hot ginger tea, he just laughed at me. He had never tasted ginger tea before. He waited almost half a day, then he asked, “Are you sure ginger tea will cure me?”  I got a piece of fresh ginger, scraped the outer part, sliced thin, and boiled in 2 cups of water. He was thankful as he got BETTER!!!

  • Resty Farmer

    We use ginger tea when we  have nausea.  When served as tea, it helps to relax and calm any internal spasms.  Other Oriental countries, ginger is use to overcome mushrooms poisoning.  When nauseated, we drink warm ginger tea.

    • Raven

      ASIAN countries

  • Mrs. Resty Vicencio Farmer

    In the Philippines where I came from, Ginger is one of the top herbal medecines you will find in every kitchens.  Fresh ginger or small amount of powdered ginger, helps stimulates the digestive organs.   Ginger tea helps stimulates a delayed menstrual period. It also helps to relieve severe menstrual cramps.

  • Tiffany Selvey

    How long does ginger keep once harvested?

    • Linda Ly

      Mine keeps for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge… sometimes longer, if I seal it in an airtight container after using it.

      • Raven

        Can you freeze it?

        • Linda Ly

          Yes, you can freeze the whole root or just spoonfuls of grated ginger.

  • Stevie Rose

    It’s so interesting to see how ginger grows.  thanks for sharing.

  • Manure Tea Gardening

    Wow, lovely thank you for the share

  • Howsheflowers

    Whoooooah… I never even THOUGHT about growing Ginger?!?!  So cool.  My first thought was “hmm, this seems easier to just buy” but then I realized that one of the things on my christmas list is mushroom spawn. … : /

    • Linda Ly

      Well, it’s easier to buy most things, but that takes the fun out of growing them. :-)

      Next year I’m going to harvest part of my ginger early because baby ginger is actually not as easy to find. I would love to grow my own mushrooms too!

      • Cindy Halk

         Just came across your blog from the Country Living 50 Things to Do site. I am interested in starting a garden because my mother always had one when I was growing up.  She grew ginger, but the baby ginger just dipped with miso was a treat.  I’m glad to come across your blog.  I, too, live in SoCal, it’s nice to know what can be grown in the same area.

        • Linda Ly

          Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m glad you’re finding something useful here. :-)

  • Daedrecraig

    Those remind me a lot of iris tubers. I wonder if they are related?

    • Linda Ly

      Ginger and iris both sprout from rhizomes and are monocots, but I don’t believe they’re in the same family.