Can you grow Ginger in Melbourne?

Can you grow ginger in Melbourne?  Based on my experiences this year, the answer to that is a very qualified yes.  The picture below shows some of my ginger grown in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne.  YAY!!!!

I love ginger – its my favourite spice, its hot, pungent and works well with both sweet and savoury dishes.  I love it so much I decided to attempt to grow it.  Madness possibly but I think its always worth giving something a try.  I bought some ginger roots online from Green Harvest and planted them in September, some in the garden and some in pots.

The rhizomes in the garden were in a very shaded area that has an ag pipe running through it directing water off the house and into the bed.  This area does however have large eucalypts growing next to it so the ginger did need to compete a bit for food and water.  The other roots I planted in pots.  Most germinated and all produced at least slightly more ginger than I initially planted.  This is where the qualified nature of my success comes in – in some cases that increase in size of the rhizomes was pretty miniscule.  In other cases I doubled or even trebled the size of the original root.

I have harvested some of the ginger and left some (both in pots and in the ground) to grow on for next year.  I think this year I will fertilise more regularly – possibly even weekly, and water more thoroughly as ginger likes both lots of water and lots of food.  It also likes shade but I may try giving at least one of the pots a bit more sun and see if that helps at all.  Finally I am going to hope our summer is a bit warmer as that would surely help.  I have ordered some more roots in case the ones I have in the ground rot over winter as it may have been better to lift them and then replant in Spring.  The plants have died down now so its a matter of waiting to see what emerges.  Exciting!!!!

Oh and it tasted good too!

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39 Responses to Can you grow Ginger in Melbourne?

  1. mireille says:

    Impressive. With a 4 degree increase in temp over the next few years, there will be no problems with future harvests.

    • Liz says:

      Is that what they are predicting? Scary….. Maybe the turmeric and galangal will grow though- I have some on order…….

    • Jack says:

      a 4 degree rise will take one thousand years – and Melbourne will be under water at that stage. But the rest of Victoria could grow some ginger.

      I’m going to put mine in the green house to keep it warm!

  2. GerryC says:

    Galangal will definately grow – got mine in a shady corner of the garden for 3 years now (Frankston) – must be heavily mulched through winter though to keep it safe from frosts.
    Will try ginger this year, planning on getting the rhizomes started indoors then planting out near the existing galangal.
    Hmm turmeric – better put that on the trial list too 🙂

    Gerry C

    • Liz says:

      Hi Gerry,

      Thanks for the comments! – very exciting – the galangal I ordered arrived today – I have put it in a pot for the time being (in retrospect I probably should have waited a month or so before ordering it…) and given your success with a shady corner I think I will attempt the same. The ginger did take awhile so come up – from memory I think about a month or more – so starting it indoors seems like a good plan – one I should probably follow with my galangal & turmeric…. I did actually plant some turmeric last year as well, it was extremely slow to come up – about 2 -3 months. I planted in September and I think it first came up in about Nov/Dec – it didn’t rot which I thought it may have being so slow. I did dig up a couple of plants and at most they had grown an extra tiny finger – about 2cm worth of turmeric at most – but I’ve left them in and hopefully I’ll have the success you’ve had with the galangal.

      I’m interested in the idea of preserving ginger in sherry, does it flavour it much? Have you tasted the preserved galangal yet – would be interested to know what its like? I have frozen galangal pretty successfully in the past – I have cut it into 20cm coin size slices and frozen those and it has kept a reasonable amount of its flavour.

      Thanks for your sharing your experiences – much appreciated!
      Liz

      • George Koncz says:

        Just a comment about preserving ginger in sherry. I do it all the time. When they are really nice in the shops I put it in sherry and the fridge and it lasts forever. I have never had to throw any out. Plus I am going to try growing it, so I was interested in your comments. I have galangal in the garden and its quite a large clump after about four years. The leaves all die down in winter but the they come back quite strong.

      • Ky says:

        Hello guys, what you guys do sounds interesting , just out of curiosity where about did u guys order ginger or galagang in melbourne? Could anyone assists? Thank you

  3. GerryC says:

    Oops, meant to leave a comment for Liz – first year my galangal hardly grew too, I left it be and the second year picked some of the new growth (quite a lot – probably more than doubled)
    This year had more than I could use – actually pickled some for later use.
    (Stored in sherry – don’t know how useful it will be – know this works for ginger quite well though)

    Gerry C

  4. angela says:

    Hey Liz ..
    I just recently began to get my green thumb.
    I love my garden. It is so relaxing. I adore this hobby. =)

  5. jan says:

    I grow tumeric in a pot but i think it would grow better in the natural garden soil and now i am trying to grow ginger and galangal.

    • Liz says:

      I have yet to succeed with galangal – ironic really as I thought it was supposed to be the easiest in Melbourne. My pot grown turmeric plants are far biggetr than those in the ground although I think this may be a feeding issue more than anything else. I’d love to know how you fair with the ginger and galangal.

  6. Aaron says:

    I live in Geelong and I have successfully grown Turmeric in summer. It is still thriving but it will die down in Winter because it is a herbaceous perennial. The roots are very earthy smelling and you can mass propagate them. Looking forward to using them in cooking!

    • Liz says:

      Hi Aaron, Funnily enough I just finished writing a bit about turmeric in my most recent post – I’ve just harvested some this week and while it is OK the crop isn’t huge. Having said that like you I am looking foward to using them. Do you leave yours in the ground over winter? The ones I left in the ground last year haven’t produced nearly as large leaves as those from freshly bought rhizomes so I’m wondering if they rotted a bit in the ground?

  7. Liz, I just googled ‘growing ginger Melbourne’ and this post came up, I was so excited. I’ve got a sprouting ginger in our fruit bowl and am thinking that it needs to go into a pot. As you say, it’ll take a long time to get anything much from it and I want to be able to take it when we go.

  8. Michelle says:

    I moved a year ago and have been slowly getting around the garden, last weekend after weeding out and chopping back an area, I found what I think is ginger, looks like it has been left for ages as there are many old ginger type bulbs running in lines up to nearly a meter, when I chop it it smells like ginger just a milder smell than what u would get in the supermarket. I love ginger and would like to help the ones Ive got, but im not sure what to do from here. The ginger bulbs seem to have roots going into the ground, but look very old and dry/hard. still smells like ginger when I cut them.
    Theres are heaps of them. any advice. been googling but cant find anything on this situation. Cheer Michelle

    • Liz says:

      Could you email me a photo? Does any of it still have foliage? If it does a photo of that would be great. My email address is: liz@suburbantomato.com. If it is ginger then it will be dormant over winter and then reappear in early summer. Mine in Coburg in Melbourne reappears in December. Not sure where you are? Ginger rhizomes do have roots so that part sounds right but I’m not sure about the dry/hard part as I’ve have only been growing it for a few years. Hopefully if you send me a photo I will be able to tell you if it looks like mine. if not I will attempt some research to try and work out what it is.

      • Zainon says:

        Hi Liz, Zainon here, I have been researching about growing Asian spices plants in Melbourne. Glad to know you are at Coberg Melbourne and have been successful with growing the plants, because, I will be building my house in Coberg Hill, by the way where do you usually order your plants from?

        • Liz says:

          Hi Zainon, Good to hear you are moving to the area. Most of the spice type plants eg ginger turmeric etc I have ordered from http://www.greenharvest.com. They have a pretty good selection of seeds and rhizomes. Locally though I use CERES most regularly. Just in case you don’t know about it – it’s in Brunswick and has a fabulous selection of edible plants. Definitely worth a visit. Their website is: http://www.ceres.org.au

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  10. John Westwood says:

    Just stumbled across this site. I am interested in growing ginger galangal and turmeric in Frankston VIC. I see that there has been some success in Melbourne area generally which is encouraging.
    Can I use supermarket bought ginger to grow on? I have had some which has shown signs of “sprouting” in the cupboard

    • Liz says:

      Yes I think you could.

    • Liz says:

      Hi John, Yes I would have thought you could. My only reservation would be whether the rhizomes carries any disease. I would try and use the healthiest ones you can. I don’t know much about diseases affecting ginger so a quick google of that should help you understand if anything too awful could happen.

  11. Lani says:

    Which month did you harvest the Ginger? Was it July? I am wondering if I could grow Ginger in Melbourne to have it fresh in October for using in our Spring Fair cooking each year at our school.

    • Liz says:

      Yes I think it was July but you could try keeping it in the ground for longer and then harvest much later. It doesn’t tend to start shooting again until about November so in theory it could work. I’m not sure what condition it would be in October though as I haven’t tried to do it.

  12. Jamie says:

    i planted ginger galangal and turmeric in october, i planted heaps and i have each type sprouting, some are in really good homemade compost full of horse, chicken and pigeon manure and plenty of mulched organic greens from my winter garden all composted,my soil is heavy clay so i dugout half a meter deep, then layer down cardboard then very old starting to rot and breakdown wood, then horse manure then rabbit manure and straw, then pigeon manure then then all the compost rich with the same manures and organic matter mentioned above then, very loamy soil and covered with euchimulch. this garden is in front of a north facing colour bond fence so it will get warmth in the winter also, they are looking very healthy and happy and so are the small banana trees and tomatoes, this will be my tropical section that i will cover with plastic in the winter to be like a hot house area.

  13. Cha says:

    Just came across this post as my sprouting ginger that I’ve had in a pot since October finally produced a couple of shoots – I am so excited and just wanted to check whether I should bring it indoors over winter?

  14. Mo Leung Sum says:

    Can I grow the ginger by cutting a small piece of ginger with an eye on it? What kind of soil do I need? My garden has a lot of clay, can I grow in that? What kind of soil do I need and what fertilize? Can I plant at the side of the house where there is sunlight in the after 3pm?

    • Liz says:

      Yes as long as it hasn’t been treated with growth retardants and has an eye it should grow. Soil – not sure but mine borders on clay but I’ve also grown it in potting mix. fertiliser – any really, I use pelletised chook poo a lot as well as Seasol. Yes to the sunlight – especially if there is some way of making it humid.

  15. Jean says:

    I live in Bayside Melbourne and bought a ginger root at the garden show a few years ago. Popped it into the ground next to the compost bin – sunny, up against a fence, then forgot about it. Last summer it produced beautiful sweet smelling flower spikes, and new shoots appearing all around. Have just cut back the old leaf stems. I may harvest some of the root this year but it’s worth growing just for the flowers!

  16. Carol Parker says:

    In Bayside. My ginger sprouted in my fruit bowl, too. How deep do I plant it with the shoots already green? I would guess I plant the bulb in a pot so that the green shoot is just at the surface. Have to use pots as the neighbouring trees send hungry roots to my garden.

  17. Jo Rice says:

    Just re where to buy ginger in Melbourne, I purchased ginger & horseradish plants from Bulleen Art & Garden nursery in Heidelberg. They have a wide selection of herbs & heirloom vegetables.
    I have planted both separately in large containers & they have grown beautifully, I plan to leave them another season before harvesting so looking forward to seeing what I dig up!

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