Growing ginger in a New Zealand garden


If you’re a ginger fan, you can harvest your own home-grown crops and enjoy some spice in your winter dishes.

Growing your own ginger isn’t too difficult so long as you respect its need for a bit of warmth. That’s easy if you live in a frost-free area, but you will require pots or tubs to be kept in a glasshouse, tunnel house, conservatory or other available warm spot if your climate is cooler.

You’ll also need a rich, moist, well-drained soil for planting segments out in spring, about 5cm below the surface.

VARIETIES IN NZ

This is a selection of ginger plants available in New Zealand. Beware not to plant the invasive species, and always triple check that what you are buying is actually what is should be as some gingers look very similar.

Chinese ginger
Zingiber officinale
90cm
Yellow spikey flowers, juicy plump rhizomes (root), can be harvested year round once plant is established, non-invasive.

Finger root, krachai, Chinese ginger
Boesenbergia rotunda
60cm
Likes a hot climate and sandy soil, needs lots of moisture, has long, finger-like rhizomes, leaves, stems and rhizome/roots are all edible.

Japanese or myoga ginger
Zingiber mioga
60-90cm
Cold-tolerant and hardy ginger plant with edible shoots and flower buds, likes a damp soil and some shade, dies down over winter, can spread quickly.

Thai ginger, ginger galangal
Alpinia galangal
Up to 2m

This is a popular member of the ginger family used in Thai cooking. Has very aromatic rhizomes that have a hint of pine, flowers have a red tinge (if you can get them to flower). Also available as a white-flowered variety with a more delicate flavour.

Shampoo, bitter ginger
Zingiber zerumbet darcyi
Up to 1.2-1.5m
Gorgeous variegated leaves in green and cream, with flower cones full of a milky mucous which can be used as shampoo.


TIPS

Use & re-use your ginger
Edible gingers grown in a pot are easy to harvest and store: tip the pot and its contents out onto the lawn to harvest a bit for dinner, then pop back in the pot and keep caring for it until next time you need to cook with ginger.

How to store in the freezer
Unpeeled fresh ginger, wrapped in foil, can also be stored in the freezer for up to two months.


DON’T PLANT THESE GINGERS

Wild/kahili ginger, Hedychium gardnerianum.

 

Yellow ginger, Hedychium flavescens.

 


WHAT TO SOW IN JUNE

Tropical only
Marrows, melons, pumpkin, squash, sweet corn, zucchini.

Subtropical & tropical
Asparagus (crowns), climbing and dwarf beans, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chicory, Chinese cabbages, kale, kohlrabi, herbs, leeks, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnips, peas (climbing & dwarf), potatoes, radishes, rhubarb (seed), salsify, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions, swedes, turnips.

Temperate
Artichokes (suckers), broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cress, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas (climbing and dwarf), radishes, shallots, spinach.

Cold
Cress, lettuce, kale, mustard, onions, shallots, spinach.

NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.

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