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Martinsville, Maine
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Hedgerow

Food, Plants, Gallery and Landscape Design in St. George, Maine

Ginger

Posted on by Anne Cox

ginger from biker dudeTen pounds of seed ginger arrived from Biker Dude, of Puna Organics in Hawaii. I like that the box said “keep from the cold” as it leaned up against the outside door with temperatures just below freezing. But not to worry. The ginger was fine.

This will be the fourth year I’ve presprouted and grown baby ginger. The taste is delicately wonderful. Last year I had my best crop ever, and have high hopes for this year’s. Though this is a different variety. I’m trying ‘Hawaiian Yellow.” We’ll see.

The trick with getting baby ginger in our climate — and we do not have a long enough season to get anything other than baby — is pre-sprouting it when it arrives in March and then growing it on in a warm environment, such as in our unheated hoop houses.

ginger stretched outSo the first step is the pre-sprouting. I’ve been using coir, which is coconut fibers, as a sprouting medium, a sterile growing medium that will keep the ginger pieces covered and moist. The coir comes in compressed bricks that soak in water and reconstitute. So preparing the coir is a fun, wet and soupy process.

The ginger doesn’t need any soil or nutrients to get going, just even heat and moisture. In a few weeks the first little green shoots will push up, and with luck, in time all the pieces will start growing, sending out small roots and tall shoots. I have to remember that this does take time. Last year I was anxious that nothing was going to happen as it seemed to just sit there. Until the day when growth started in all the trays.

 

on heat matsI have five trays this year, enough to fill up about one-and-a-half sides of a hoophouse. As I rotate the crops around, this year they ginger will be returning to the upper hoophouse where it was four years ago. Isn’t that an optimistic statement. All three hoophouses collapsed under the weight of snow this year. And with the persistent snow cover — we still have at least 18″ of hard snow out there and much more in many places — and cold temperatures, I have no idea when I will be able to take them down and reconstruct them. Good thing pre-sprouting takes time.

By the way, the mighty fig goddess is leafing out and even has a few figs in the background. She did poorly last year after her rough re-location from the old greenhouse to this one, but shows every sign of a full and vigorous recovery.

 

filling upMeanwhile the rest of the greenhouse is filling up. Alliums, artichokes, celeriac and a slew of flowers for the cutting garden are covering almost every surface. I start peppers and eggplants along with more flowers and lettuce seedlings next week. Then every inch will be covered.

One Response to Ginger

Jesse Saindon says: August 6, 2016 at 11:23 am

Absolutely love reading your blog posts! I made it back to page 32 last night and this morning. Very interesting to see what is possible in a climate similar to mine (New Brunswick Canada). Hope to see more posts in the future!

Jesse

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