Ginger is a perennial plant that reaches a height of 40-80inch (1-2m). It has long, lance-shaped leaves and an erect stem. The rhizome is an underground storage organ that is palmately divided and covered with a thin black bark on top and a yellowish, fleshy pulp beneath with a slight, peculiar peppery flavor. It has small indeterminate leafy roots that extend downward and above-ground buds. Ginger is native to southern Asia but is now widely grown in Asia and Europe. It is cultivated outdoors in warmer regions and greenhouses and homes in cooler areas. This article describes how to grow ginger, as well as its ingredients and its applications in cooking.
Spiced ginger, or medicinal ginger, or common ginger (Zingiber officinale) a type species of the genus Ginger in the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae). In China, it is often referred to simply as ginger.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GINGER
Translated from Sanskrit, ginger means “horny root” or, in another interpretation, “panacea.” In fact, it is used to treat 100 diseases. This natural aphrodisiac stimulates sexual desire, and for this reason, the Chinese associate ginger with the term “masculine energy.”
It is believed that people who drink ginger drinks become courageous, brave, and decisive. Fear, panic, and depression are unknown to such people. Clothes soaked in ginger oil will bring the owner all the success and wealth of his family business.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF GINGER
The chemical composition of the rhizome determines its medicinal properties. The rhizome contains up to 3% of ginger essential oil, which has a peculiar aroma and contains a large number of macro and micronutrients. Among the amino acids, the chemical composition includes tryptophan, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, and others. Ginger contains high amounts of vitamins B, A, and C. The piquant flavor of ginger is imparted by gingerol.
Ginger’s constituents singulbene, camphor, bisphenolene, citral, and others combine with amino acids and other substances to form stable therapeutic complexes. Ginger root is used worldwide as a prophylactic and treatment for various diseases as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, choleretic, anthelmintic, anti-spasmodic, gastrointestinal disorders, and the liver. In East Asia, folk healers recommend ginger preparations to improve memory. It is considered to be a good natural stimulant for prolonging youth.
USING GINGER IN COOKING
The root of ginger is used as an ingredient or part of certain cold and hot dishes. Decoctions and infusions are used as treatments. In cooking, it is used to make preserves, beer (the famous ginger beer), add it to pastries and make sauces for meat dishes. Ginger tea is an indispensable remedy for colds and a light invigorator for physical labor and muscle fatigue. Having such a healthy herb in your home is a must.
THE SECRET OF GROWING GINGER
Thus, ginger can be grown anywhere, with one condition – prolonged high temperatures, sufficient humidity, in semi-mountainous areas (direct heat is destructive for the crop), without wind and strong winds. Experienced gardeners in some areas of the South grow ginger as an annual in small beds in the open ground. Under U.S. conditions, it is grown outdoors, in greenhouses and commercial farms, and as a house plant in pots and wide planters. All parts of ginger have a pleasant lemon scent. Consider several cultivation options for this valuable crop.
GINGER CAN BE GROWN OUTDOORS
To obtain fully grown rhizomes, ginger plants need to be in the ground for 8 to 10 months. Given its long growing period, it is best to propagate it as a seedling.
Preparing soil for ginger seedlings
Ginger likes moist air and does not tolerate over-watering. Prepare a 1:1:1 mixture of humus, mulch, sand, and light garden soil. You can purchase premixed humus at your local gardening store. The mixture should be well mixed and placed in a wide carrier or pot at least 10inch (25cm) in height and moistened.
At the end of February, place the ginger seedlings with shoots facing upwards in the prepared planting containers. Plant the rhizomes at 1-2inch (2.5-5 cm), cover with the soil mixture and water liberally. Remember! The drainage system is mandatory. 15-20 days later, young ginger shoots will appear.
Preparing rhizomes for planting
You can buy rhizomes for planting at shopping centers or in the vegetable department of stores. Planting material should be young (a must) and fresh. Young rhizomes have smooth bark, are light golden in color, and have small holes on the surface (similar to potatoes). Do not buy damaged, shriveled, sluggish or half-dried rootstocks. They will not come back to life and will not form shoots.
Soak the rootstock in the heated water for 12-20 hours before planting. During this time, the buds will swell slightly. Cut the planting material into several sections so that each section has 2-3 live shoots. It is best to cut along the ligaments of the rootstock buds. The surface of the wound should be protected from root rot and disease-causing fungi. This can be treated with bio fungicides, finely sieved wood ash, or crushed charcoal.
Preparing seedbeds for ginger seedlings
Ginger needs light to moderately acidic soil with a high organic matter content to develop successfully. In the fall, loosen the soil 10-12inch (25-30 cm) to create a soft bed. Apply 1-2 buckets of humus and 1 bucket of sand per 11 square feet. If the soil is nutrient-poor, add 50-80 g/11 sq. ft. of nitrocellulose. If the soil is heavy or dense, be sure to use coarse pebbles and sand or coniferous wood chips (which will acidify neutral soil) and chopped garden trimmings for a drainage substrate.
Planting ginger seedlings
Germinated rhizomes with asexually propagated shoots should be planted out permanently in April and May. To prevent unstable weather conditions (even in the south), cover the planting temporarily with film or other mulching material. The soil should be well moistened before planting. The planting scheme is rotational. The depth of the planting trench should be about 8inch (20 cm). Trenches can be covered with humus or mature humus. Spread the germinating seedlings at 12inch (30cm) intervals and cover with a layer of soil.
Taking care of ginger seedlings
After about 30-40 days, young shoots will appear on the soil surface. The green masses will grow very vigorously, and the plants need a lot of water in the soil and air. Spray the ginger plants 2-3 times a week with a watering can with a fine-mesh nozzle without letting the soil become too dry. The day after watering, loosen the soil to allow oxygen to better reach the roots. It is best to water and sprinkle before 9 a.m. and not before 3 to 4 p.m. so that the water droplets do not act as a lens and burn the plant’s leaves.
Fertilization of ginger
By forming rhizomes as storage organs, ginger is very responsive to fertilizers. Fertilizer is applied every 1.5 to 2 weeks, starting from the massive germination stage. Fertilizers are us