Yesterday I was inspired by a friend who mentioned sipping a cup of Tumeric and Ginger root tea.
"Huh," this made me remember, "I have ginger plants."
Then another friend chimed in about her love for candied ginger.
Well, that's all it took. I LOVE candy, and decided I must learn to make candied ginger, so off I went to check out my ginger plants.
Actually, I had recently been thinking about getting the ginger out of the greenhouse and transplanting it somewhere outside, but because it cannot handle the occasional winter freeze we get here I wasn't sure where I would plant it. So it remained neglected while I pondered this a little more.
But today was the day - and thank goodness! My sorely neglected ginger plants had become completely rootbound!
So much so that they were completely intertwined; entangled with one another grasping frantically for any remaining dirt they could find. The rhizomes were not plump and healthy like they should be, but rather shriveled, sickly looking things that you definitely would NOT consider eating!
I dumped the pot and began to try to disentangle the roots so that I could begin transplanting individual plants. Ginger is a very hardy plant, and in proper circumstances will propagate itself and grow prolifically given plenty of space.
My husband has a term he uses when we transplant which means to gently remove the dirt from the roots and to spread the roots out in a more natural pattern. He calls this "tickling out" Ha! What I did was more like ripping and shredding! I had to use the water hose like a pressure washer to remove the dirt, and the roots were so entangled that there was nothing gentle about it!
Fortunately, I was able to transplant several shoots before having to move on to something else. The remainder of the rhizomes and roots I left being rejuvenated in a fish water bath. I hope to continue planting today.
I am aware that ginger is often used medicinally for nausea, but upon further reading I see that it relieves gastrointestinal distress. In one blind study it proved to be more effective than Dramamine for relieving sea and motion sickness symptoms: dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweats. Along these same lines, it is highly regarded for easing morning sickness during pregnancy. Some consider ginger to be an anti-inflammatory and use it for arthritis, and it also has antioxidant properties.
To plant your own ginger:
Select a rhizome from your local grocery store. Choose a large root with nodules and soak it in water for several hours before planting. This will dilute any growth inhibitor present on the rhizome and help to hydrate it prior to planting. I've found that propagating in pots makes harvesting easier, and the plant is more likely to survive indoors in cold climates, but if you live in a temperate climate planting outdoors allows the roots to grow and spread quickly. Ginger prefers good compost, plenty of water, filtered sunlight or light shade, humidity and protection from winds. It will not survive freezing temperatures.