Ginger Root, Sprouting: in album food
|Sep 15th, 2011, by Alex Zorach|
This photo, which is featured in my blog post on ginger in tea and herbal teas, shows ginger root, sprouting. Ginger is a spice or seasoning that comes from the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. This rhizome, when still alive, is a dormant form of the plant which stores energy, nutrients, and water, and is able to grow into a full-sized ginger plant again, if given the proper conditions.
Ginger is relatively easy to grow. It is a tropical plant, and will not survive the winter if grown outdoors in cold climates, but it can be grown outdoors during the summer, or indoors year round. It is a grass, and looks similar to lemongrass, although it has somewhat more tender leaves, and is a little more leafy and lush.
Sprouting ginger is very easy. Often, like potatos or onions, it will sprout on its own if you set the ginger root in an area where it is exposed to some indirect light. When selecting ginger rhizomes at a store to grow your own plants, look for ones with the beginnings of sprouts, and look for rhizomes that are the least dried out.
Ginger has low light requirements; it will grow faster with more light, but I've grown it indoors in Northeast Ohio, in a north-facing window, and it grew slowly but did grow. In the north window, it did not grow enough root to harvest, but in a southern-facing window in the same climate, it grew ample root after less than a year. It does, however, have extremely high water requirements. It loves humidity. Indoors, in the dry heat of a heated winter home, it can need to be watered as often as every other day. Given its extreme water requirements, it is relatively easy to grow. If you stop watering it, it will dry up, but the rhizome will remain alive and will resprout once you begin watering it again. It can survive drought in a dormant period, if you bring it indoors, so long as it does not freeze.