I recently attended the “Growing Edible Ginger for Local Markets” workshop given by Susan Anderson from East Branch Ginger at the SSAWG Conference in Mobile, AL.
Susan produces baby culinary ginger in a high tunnel and shared many ideas and photos on how and where to grow ginger as a great specialty crop. The baby ginger has delicate pink scales, no skin, and no fiber, is very tender, but has a shorter shelf life than older ginger.
The “mother root” shoots off “tillers”, which you can break off with its smaller roots to plant and cultivate. The new rhizome growth comes from one tiller. The soil temperature must be 55 degrees and up (be sure to use your soil probes before the sun comes up), you can use row covers to keep them warm and hill them up in good gypsum soil (not sand).
They like to take deep drinks and will grow in 15 gallon containers or large bags as well as in the ground. Root Maker company sells good fabric bags or you can use potato grow bags as well. Susan says to “dig up a victim in August to see what it is doing” and look for “nice finger development on the hand”.
There are many ways to use and preserve baby ginger – chop and slice or use the whole rhizome to freeze. I’m ready to start learning the whole process this year.