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Plantidote of the Day 2012-12-19, Plus Bonus Cold Remedy!

twig's picture

ginger root

Zingiber offinale

True ginger

Next time you feel like you're coming down with something, you might want to try a Hot Ginger Not-a-Toddy. Chop up about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger. Put it in a cup, add the juice from a big wedge of lemon, and a spoonful of honey. Fill the cup with hot water. (You may want to add whiskey and make a real toddy, but I don't know if that has the same cold-killing effect, so you're on your own.) Drink a few of these throughout the day. I haven't had a cold or flu for years thanks to ginger. (Could it be a placebo effect? Sure. Do I care? Heck, no -- it works, that's all that matters.)

Here's another cool thing you can do with ginger -- grow it! Buy a fresh root at the store in spring. Ideally, the piece you use for a plant should be at least 2" long. Let the cut end dry, then tuck it into a pot with good quality potting soil. It will sprout small buds that turn into stems with green leaves (see below). Or you can place one end of a fresh ginger root in a glass of water; in a week or so you'll notice little "buds" starting to develop above the water line. At that point, you can transplant the entire root to soil. Water sparingly until the buds turn into stems, then water regularly and feed once per month. Here's a picture of an approximately 2-month-old ginger plant I grew this way.

ginger root starting to grow into a plant

Ginger goes dormant in winter, but in summer your plant may produce small purple flowers. Just one more reason to love this it!

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

I like growing as many things as I can that allows me to never have to purchase it again. It looks like your 2 month old plant there was already expanding the tuber part, so conceivably, one could grow all the ginger they would need once you get a big plant growing. I usually buy a 3 " long tuber a month. Eventually I could grow that amount for harvest easily . Will need to check how hardy it is. It probably needs protection

Now I see I can just grow it and go dig up a chunk when I need.

Great idea, twig.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

according to the Sunset book:

"Tropical in origin, ginger needs heat and humidity, shade from hottest sun."

The book also mentions that the rhizomes may rot in cold, wet soil. There's a LOT more detailed information on growing edible ginger here.