Ginger adds an unmistakable flavor to many of our favorite foods, whether it’s pickled, added to a stir-fry, or baked into cookies. Aside from that unique taste, ginger also offers a number of health benefits. It’s an anti-inflammatory, immune booster, and helps relieve gastrointestinal distress (do you drink ginger ale when your stomach’s upset?). Of course, fresh ginger not only is more flavorful than the dried and powdered stuff, those healthy bits are more potent.
Now, some of you are probably like us – we’ll buy a hunk of ginger root at the store, use some, and then the rest will sit on the counter until it’s shriveled and useless. But did you know that you can plant the leftovers, instead of watching it waste away? Yes, you too can grow your own ginger. Not only are you not wasting half of what you bought, you’ll never have to buy ginger again – you can just take a bit from the pot, replant, and let it keep on growing.
Next time you see ginger root, take a close look at the ends, or “fingers.” You should see little pointy-ish nubs, or eyes – those are the leaves, just waiting to sprout.
Break off a few of those “fingers” and stick them a couple inches deep in some potting soil (you could plant outside, but it’s a tropical [~zone 7 minimum] and wouldn’t stand a chance in Ohio, so put it in a pot – you can keep it outside when it’s warm, and move it inside when it snows). In a few weeks or so, you should start to see some green poking up.
Keep well-watered (moist but not soaking – they don’t like wet feet) and in a warm, mostly sunny spot. After several months, you can start to take little pieces off the side, and in 8-10 months, the leaves should start to dry out, which is your cue to harvest the whole thing. Use some, freeze some, and save some to plant to start the whole process over again!