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Growing Ginger at Home

July 26th, 2010

I just LOVE ginger, gingersnaps, gingerbread, gingered beef, anything with ginger in it. I use fresh ginger, powdered ginger and crystallized ginger. Crystallized ginger finds it’s way into just about everything I bake from scones to cobblers and we love it on our oatmeal! Every time I go to the health food store I pick up a big knob of ginger root to use in cooking and in teas.

I tried last year without success to start some ginger to grow as a houseplant. This spring I decided to give it another go. If I’m going to have houseplants, they may as well be edible! I searched around on-line, read a few different articles, all with different instructions and finally settled on a plan. (I didn’t follow the instructions I tried that failed last year). This is what I did.

Pick a few rhizomes that have some buds on them. You’ll notice the greenish buds on the tips of the rhizomes, they’ll look like little starts almost. Make sure you pick plump, healthy looking roots and break them into chunks that have a few good buds each. If they’re shriveled and dry they most likely won’t start. Soak the ginger overnight in water.

Fill a large pot, at least 12″, with good potting soil and place the rhizomes on top of the soil with the buds facing down. Press the rhizomes gently into the soil and water thoroughly. Place in a warm sunny spot in the North and in a warm shady spot in the South. Ginger is a tropical plant so it likes the heat, but from what I read dislikes full sun in hot climates. Mine is in full sun here since the afternoon sun in Ohio is much different than the afternoon sun in Florida. Cover with plastic or a cloche to keep the humidity levels up.

Keep the container well watered and be patient. It can take a long time for the plants to show above the soil. As long as they don’t look dried out and withered they should be OK. It took 3 months for one of my rhizomes to start showing signs of growth above the soil. I planted these on March 16 this year. Two weeks ago, I went to water the ginger and I noticed this lovely shoot. So far only one of my rhizomes has sprouted a shoot above the soil level.

I’ve read that it takes about a year for the plant to grow roots big enough to harvest. I’ll make sure to blog about my harvest next March! I have another knob in the cupboard that has some nice buds on it, so I may plant it soon. I don’t think one pot of ginger will be enough for our ginger needs! I’m also starting a lemongrass plant, more on that soon.

Have you ever tried to grow ginger or any other tropical spices? Any luck?

Quote of the Day: Lord Byron

July 25th, 2010

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
~ Lord Byron

Hope you can get a good laugh in today! (of course you can tell Mr Chiots took these photos, a big thanks to him for getting a few photos of me every now and then).

And the Winner Is…

July 24th, 2010

I finally picked the winners for the Free Purple Columbine seeds contest. Lee really wanted Lucy to pick the numbers so I thought and thought until I came up with a great way. I numbered a sheet of paper with the total number of comments (I took out my comments and the accidental second comment by someone) and then put it in front of Lucy’s bowl. Then I gave her some whey to drink and figured whichever numbers she dribbled on would win. If this didn’t work I was just going to use the random number generator again. But amazingly, as you can see, five clear winners were chosen by Lucy.

The winners are:
#2 Carolyn
#8 Donna B.
#19 Chris
#33 Heather
#34 Kaytee
Winners – if I haven’t contacted you yet, make sure to e-mail your address to me with the contact form to the right.

Anyone have any other great creative ideas on how to choose winners of my next contests?

The First Ripe Tomato of 2010

July 23rd, 2010

On Wednesday evening I picked my first ripe tomato of 2010. Well at least the first official ripe tomato, I had a few that ripened earlier but they had blossom end rot, so they don’t count. Oddly enough these little tomatoes came from a volunteer plant that is growing in with some of my potatoes. I saw the plant sprout early and was wondering what kinds of tomatoes it would produce. They’re small, but not cherries, in between a cherry and a regular tomato. They grew well in the cool spring and didn’t freeze out with the frosts we had early in the season. If I like the flavor I may save some seeds and try planting in outside earlier than the others next spring. Perhaps this could be the ‘Chiot’s Run’ tomato.

Are you harvesting any ripe tomatoes yet?

Enjoying the Harvest

July 22nd, 2010

Yesterday I went to my mom’s and we harvested a row of ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes. These were potatoes that she grew last year and she didn’t get around to eating and found them sprouting in her root cellar this spring. We figured we may as well use them, so we planted them earlier this spring when we planted my sampler pack. They produced over 50lbs of potatoes!

When you spend an hour harvesting potatoes you get really hungry, so we came in and enjoyed a few of those potatoes fried up with some onions and you can’t eat potatoes without a fried egg on the side. This is my most favorite way to eat potatoes, simple and delicious! Off course they have to be fried in a cast iron skillet with bacon grease or butter!

You sure can’t get a fresher or tastier potato anywhere. This is one of the reasons I garden. I love being able to decide what to make for dinner based on what’s ready to harvest in the garden.

Have you harvested any potatoes yet? What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Seeds and Sundries
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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.