Dr. Joe Masabni
Department of Horticulture
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Ginger is a reed like herb that is grown for its pungent, spicy underground stems or rhizomes. The edible portion is the rhizome which is rough and knotty in appearance.
Ginger is propagated by planting pieces of the underground stem or rhizome in the early spring. Ginger thrives best in the tropics and in the warmer regions of the temperate zone. Plants thrive in a loose, loamy soil that is high in organic matter. After planting, water sparingly until plants are well developed. In late summer the plants will show signs of maturing such as yellowing foliage and slowness in growth. Harvest by digging up the entire root.
Ginger roots should be free of bruises and light brown to cream colored. Harvest ginger roots at any stage of maturity because root size is not important. Store fresh ginger in a sealed plastic bag in refrigeration where it will keep several weeks. It can also be frozen for long term storage. In Southeastern Asia, the leafstalks are used as a food flavoring. The bright canary yellow leafstalks are tied in two to four “hands” for marketing. The fresh roots are used in the manufacture of ginger ale.