Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Choosing to Grow from “Seed Ginger” or Seedlings

“Seed Ginger” prepared for container planting.

“Seed Ginger” prepared for container planting.

Getting your ginger garden started every season begins with the choice of how to grow your plants—from rhizomes or seedlings? You could buy ginger seedlings from a local nursery (if they have any) or from a specialty shop online. But really, all you need is ginger root—excuse me, ginger rhizome. Go to the market and pick up some plump, fresh-looking ginger. Get organic if you can. If you can’t, no worries.

So, your preparation for planting goes like this:

Buy some ginger rhizomes—the underground stem part of the plant that can sprout roots—at the market. Look for a big chunk that has little shiny buds at the ends of the sections; those will become the sprouts that will become the stems.

If you bought organic, set your rhizomes aside in a cool, dark spot until you’re ready to plant.

If you bought your rhizomes at the market, the discount store, or even at the dollar store (yup, you can sometimes find it there), you’ll want to do a little extra preparation first. You see, when produce suppliers send ginger to market, they often treat it with a growth inhibitor so it doesn’t start sprouting on the way to produce department (most customers aren’t looking for live, growing plants for dinner).

Put your store-bought ginger rhizome in a shallow pan and cover the ginger with water (preferably filtered). Let it sit for up to a day, changing water when you can. You should notice little buds forming. Hooray! You’re ready to plant.

Besides your ginger rhizomes, tools might include:

  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Perlite or vermiculite
  • Containers (with wheels)
  • Gardening fork
  • Grow lights
  • Heat mats

Depending on your set-up situation, you might not need all of these items—or you might be able to do-it-yourself (DIY) on some things. If you choose to grow your ginger from seedlings, take advantage of all the options to select the varieties that you really want.

Have you tried growing ginger from rhizomes, seedlings, or both? Which method do you prefer—and why? Please tell us how you get your ginger crop started every year.

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