Friday, August 8, 2008

Ginger Root Sprouts

When ginger root is left out on the counter in the summer, sometimes I end up with what I call "ginger root sprouts". Not sprouts like you might think of bean sprouts, but ginger root that has sprouted! Enjoying that extra burst of flavor ginger root gives to the stir fry dishes I often throw together, it is as much of a staple in my kitchen as cloves of fresh garlic. When I saw so many healthy sprouts emerging from this particular chunk of ginger root, my first thought was to plant it to see what would happen. Since I was heading out to check on the Friendship Garden today, I took along my sprouted ginger root and we planted it in a special mixture of very rich soil in a plastic pot and watered it well.

Meanwhile, our Friendship Garden continues to do well.
There were even a few radishes ready for harvest. Pulling close to a half a dozen, their tender, crisp flavor was enjoyed immediately after pulling and rinsing them off under the running water right out in the yard. You just can't find radishes any more fresh than that!
The cucumbers continue to grow!

As do the edible flowers.

I think I can almost see those young plants grow right before my eyes as I water them.


Later I researched growing ginger root on the Internet and discovered that we are on the right track with how we planted ours. The information I found makes growing your own ginger sound so easy. We will see if that is really the case!

Following is some of the information found on the Internet about growing, harvesting and using ginger root. Found at The Herb Gardener, a blog by Sara Elliott, a freelance writer, devoted gardener, reader, quilter, and environmentalist, the information she shares about growing, harvesting and using ginger root seemed to me to be well written and easy to understand.

Growing and Harvesting Ginger - Ginger grows from a spreading, tuberous rhizome. It does well in moist fertile soil in warm winter areas. If you have seen ginger in the grocery store, the root looks like a flattened, beige, segmented bulb. The foliage is tall and dark green in color, springing from upright, rigid stems. Even in areas that experience a hard frost, ginger can be grown in large pots and over-wintered indoors.

Sprout Ginger from Root Stock - There are many of varieties of ginger, but for a good introduction to keeping this useful herb, select your stock from the local grocery. The resulting plants should be hardy and attractive, probably producing small, yellow flowers. Look for large root pieces that are shiny and fat.

Start ginger in a large shallow pot that contains one-part sand to one-part potting soil. I generally use a 14" pot filled three quarters full with soil. Lay rooting pieces horizontally, placing them two or three inches apart around the center of the pot. Cover with one inch of soil. Ginger likes to grow in dappled light to light shade. While sprouting, make sure to keep the roots uniformly moist.

When the sprouts appear, you will see small portions of root poking through the soil. As the root is visible, it will be easier to harvest small segments as the plants mature. Avoid harvesting ginger for a season. This allows the plants to get a good start on life.

Once you have a thriving set of shoots, place the plants in a shady spot out of doors for a few hours a day after the overnight temperature rises above 50 degrees F. Increase the time outside over a four day period, and then place the pot in a shady permanent location. The three things to remember are that ginger needs shade, regular water, and won't tolerate freezing temperatures. Apply an all-purpose fertilizer to your plants twice during the growing season.

Overwintering Ginger in Cold Climates - In the fall, bring the pot indoors and place it in a storage area where the temperature stays above freezing. Allow the tops of the plant to yellow and then trim them off. Moisten the soil once a month to keep the roots viable. In the spring, after all threat of frost has passed, place the pot in a warm shady spot and watch for a new set of shoots. Repot every couple of years.

Harvesting Ginger - As the root is near the surface, you will often see small nobs at the soil line of your plant that can be selectively cut for culinary use.


Low in calories, yet rich in potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6, detailed information about the health benefits of including ginger in your diet is found on the World's Healthiest Foods website at

and includes simple serving suggestions as well as links to recipes.


  1. I love ginger! I sould sprout some and try planting it too! I usually keep mine in the freezer as well andjust recently I found jars of minced organic ginger at the grocery store. YUM!

  2. I tried planting one of my ginger root sprouts a few years ago and had read that it would multiply and produce more ginger root. Apparently my green thumb does not include house plants who might be a bit fussy as mine died. I hope you have better luck than I did. I usually keep my ginger root in the freezer so I won't waste it by forgetting to use it before it dries out. I love pickled ginger root which comes in a plastic container or larger quantities in jars (easiest to find at the Asian grocers). It is so good with fish and is served with sushi (which I make at home with cook fish or vegetarian). I also have a 30-year supply of wasabi powder that I got a deal on from Ebay. Have a great recipe for the wasabi and avocado for a sauce to put on fish dishes.

  3. Great info! I have a ginger root that has 3 nodes that have shoots. Can I separate these and plant them indiviually; not planting the "mother" root??

  4. You can break off each of the three nodes with shoots and plant each individually in pots. They will make their own plants and spread quite nicely. Soon you will be enjoying fresh ginger root that you have grown yourself. Take a look in the mirror - it's so cool to look your farmer in the face!


Thanks for commenting!