Ginger is in the same family as turmeric. Both tropical plants are native to Southeast Asia, have edible rhizomes, and require similar growing methods.
Ginger likes fertile soil with lots of nutrients, and the plant likes warm temperatures but not too much sun. Soak a fresh piece of rhizome in water for one day, then plant it with the buds facing upwards and cover with an inch of soil. Space rhizomes about a foot apart, or plant them individually in containers.
Soil for Ginger
Ginger likes soil rich in organic matter, free of rocks, and in a place that drains well. Proper tillering is important, so it should be planted in a trench or have enough soil next to it to facilitate tillering. It does best with a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Because the ginger rhizome grows under the soil, the soil should be loose, so the rhizome is free to grow.
Start sprouting your rhizomes (the part you eat) in late winter, so they are ready to transplant in early spring. Even if your ginger is grown exclusively indoors, timing is still important as the plants need to receive summer sunlight.
Ginger Cultivation: The Active Growth Phase
The active growth period is the time when crops grow the most.
Planting, Feeding, Harvesting, Storage
Ginger seeds should be planted in the ground in a field, in a high tunnel or in a greenhouse, anywhere from the end of the month February to early April, depending on climate. The soil must remain at a minimum temperature of 50 degrees F for proper development and should be tested each morning before sunrise. You can plant about 25-30 pounds of baby ginger seed per 100 feet of soil and it can also be grown in a container culture. If you plan to plant your ginger in a container, you need to be able to pinch off the top. The container must also drain very well and the soil mix should not be actively rotting. Ginger is a very hungry crop, and a soil test is essential to make sure the plants have enough nutrients. Anderson recommends gypsum to help ginger take up nutrients without changing the pH of the soil.
Ideally, ginger can be cultivated after taking a pre-monsoon shower. Along the west coasts of India, this happens during April and ginger can be cultivated here in the second week of May. However, in other parts of the country where the pre-monsoon showers are uncommon, it can be planted under irrigated conditions during February and March.
Soil with good drainage capacity, such as clay loam, sandy loam, and red loam with a rich humus content is good for ginger cultivation. It can also grow in later, well-drained soil. The sandy loam, however, is the best for cultivation. Once harvested, it is not advisable to cultivate ginger in the same soil for a period of two years.