Growing in Containers:
Commitment on Your Part: Your ginger seeds/plants must consistently be in 70 degrees or higher (ideally 75 degrees). The soil temp must be 55-60 degrees or higher. This means your plant will need to be in your house or heated greenhouse when it is cooler than 70 degrees outside. Unless you have Hawaii-type weather (which is around 75-85 during the day and 65-75 at night), this commitment must be kept to have an optimal growing experience.
Cutting Seed (If we do not cut seed pieces for you.): When cutting your ginger for seed, cut at the narrow parts. The object is to minimize the surface area where you have cut. Try to have 2 to 3 eyes on one piece. The seed pieces need to dry out or cure for anywhere between 2 to 3 days before planting or pre-sprouting.
Temperature: If you live in a warm temperate climate of a consistent 70 degrees or warmer, and soil temp of 55-60 degrees or warmer; ginger can be grown outside. Most people on the mainland do not have these temperatures consistently. Many mainlanders have found it helpful to grow in hoop houses. If you plant the ginger in the ground, buy clean seed from Paradise Pure each year because ginger can easily pick up a disease from the soil (i.e. bacterial wilt).
Water: Ginger likes the growing medium to be evenly moist (not soggy), and more in the heat of the day. Make sure your growing medium/soil has good drainage.
Sunlight: Ginger likes indirect light especially in the first few months.
Pre-sprouting gives your ginger a jumpstart on the growing season while you are waiting for temperatures to increase outside. In the meantime, place the seed flat (about an inch apart) in flat nursery trays on top of 1/2” of good quality growing medium. A mixture of sphagnum moss, coconut coir, and perlite make a nice growing medium. Also, add slow-release fertilizer (example would be 4-6-4 Sustane) and an inoculant at this time. Cover the ginger lightly with the medium; it is okay if tips of your ginger protrude a little out of the medium. Keep the ginger evenly moist; do not over water. During pre-sprout, keep your temperature 70 degrees and warmer day and night. In approximate 2-3 weeks, sprouts will pop up through the medium.
A Note About Beneficial Microorganisms (in other words, an inoculant):
An inoculant is an organic soil amendment that provides a broad spectrum of beneficial microorganisms, enzymes, vitamins, and various organic acids. Healthy soils require organic matter, like compost, microbes, and moisture that supports a healthy environment for plants. The result is strong plants and healthier flowers and higher quality fruits and vegetables. Healthy plants are better able to resist diseases and pests. These are all essential components for healthy soil and plants. Inoculants come in liquid or dry.
How to Grow Baby Ginger in Containers
Step 1: You have already taken care of the first step by buying healthy seed from Paradise Pure Seed Ginger.
Step 2: Fill a 7-gallon pot/bag with growth medium. We used 7-gallon bags due to the weight of the plant at harvest. A 10-gallon pot or bag gets too heavy. Many popular growth medium can be acidic, in which case you will need to add dolomite 65AG (finely ground calcium and magnesium carbonate) to raise the pH and also supply calcium. Calcium is essential for vigorous growth of ginger as it helps with the uptake of all the vitamins. An option for calcium is gypsum. There are many different types of growth medium (some have added dolomite already), so it is best to test your medium for pH. The pH of the growth medium should be between 5.5 and 6.5. For a sphagnum moss, coconut coir, perlite mix without dolomite added, empty the pot into a mixing tray or a large, clean garbage bag and add 1.5 ounces (2 1⁄2 tablespoons or 45 grams) of dolomite. Mix the dolomite into the medium.
Step 3: Fill the pot halfway full of the your growth medium. Plant 2 to 3 ginger sprouts (or 2 to 3 ginger seed pieces if not pre-sprouting) in each pot, so that 1 inch of medium covers the sprouts/seed pieces. If you are planting seeds, each seed should be 3 to 4 eyes. Add slow-release fertilizer (example would be 4-6-4 Sustane) and the inoculant at this time. Store the remaining medium in a clean plastic container or garbage bag for future hilling.
Step 4: It is necessary to add medium mixture when you see the pink on the stalk emerging from the medium. Ginger needs to be hilled approximately every 3 months, but we take our cue from the ginger. When you see the pink, cover the ginger with about 2 to 3 inches of medium. You will probably have to do this one more time before harvest. Hilling is important because ginger grows upwards. Adding medium to cover the base of the stalk feeds the ginger right at the point of new growth. Slow-release fertilizer and an inoculant should be added each time you hill
Step 5: For baby ginger, dig it up after 6 months (from pre-sprout or from the time a seed is planted). Wash it, let it dry, and there you have it; you are ready for market. If successful, you should be able to multiply the volume of ginger by 8 times or more.
This picture is a sample harvest from a 7-gallon bag at six months. We planted two 3 ounce seed pieces in this bag. The weight of this baby ginger is 2 ½ pounds (excluding the stalk). This is 6.5 times the seed weight. It can be more or less. We only harvested one bag. The rest we have maturing for seed for you.
Special Note: The pathogen, Ralstonia solanacearum (bacterial wilt) that has plagued the ginger producers in the world can be transmitted through infected seed and poor sanitation. Your soil may not have it now so keep it free by planting clean bacterial-wilt-free seed.
Bleach can be used to sterilize the surface of ginger seeds: dip them in a 10% bleach solution (1 part commercial bleach to 9 parts water) for 10 minutes.
We have had tremendous support from our Cooperative Extension Service in Hilo, HI. Without the clean seed project, all these seeds would not be available.
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