Growing Ginger in Melbourne – Is it worth it?

I harvested some more of my ginger today.  One of the plants in the pot was dying back and I was dying to see what lay beneath the soil.

So I dug it out, leaving the remaining green plants in the pot.

This is what I got:

And this is what it looked like after I’d cleaned it up a bit:

Beautiful isn’t it?

The dark brown section on the right of the photo near the gloves is the original rhizome I planted.  The rest is new growth.  The new growth weighed just over 100g.  At the moment ginger is $11.88kg at my local supermarket.  So my bit of ginger is probably worth about $1.20, perhaps a bit more if you consider that its organic.  I paid $6.95 for the original organic ‘seed’ rhizomes of which there were 6.  So presuming I get similar results from the other plants in my pot I should just about break even this year (except of course if you factor in the cost of the potting mix and fertiliser in which case I’ve made a small loss).  This loss is due in most part to the price of the seed ginger which going forward I wont have to pay.  I have cut this section off, which as you can see is just starting to shoot and I have repotted it and I will keep the pot inside for the winter.  Hopefully that way it will start its growth phase a lot earlier than if I stored the rhizome for planting in Spring.  I will store some bits of the remaining crop for Spring planting though.

Another method of overcoming the cost of seed ginger would be sprouting some bought for culinary purposes but not having tried to before I am unsure of when the best time of the year to attempt it would be.  My early Spring planted ginger has tended to appear in late Spring/early Summer so my feeling is that it would need to be started sometime in Spring.  Has anyone done it successfully?  And When?

All in all I do think its worth attempting growing ginger in Melbourne (the cost of seed ginger aside).  Apart from anything else its fun.

Thus far my experiments have suggested that pot grown ginger; grown in potting mix fertilised with slow release fertiliser and then given liquid fish fertiliser fortnightly yields better results than ginger grown it straight in the garden.  I think this is largely because you can more easily control the amount of food and water it gets and ginger likes lots of both.  Where I previously planted it in the garden it has had a fair bit of competition for both water and nutrients and it hasn’t really appreciated it, if you could isolate it in the garden a bit it may fare better.

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30 Responses to Growing Ginger in Melbourne – Is it worth it?

  1. Louise says:

    Very nice! I cant wait to hear from you on how it tastes… is it sweeter, spicier, more fragrant, juicier that the shop bought stuff?

    • Liz says:

      It will be interesting to see if I can notice much of a difference. I’m wondering if the cooler growing conditions than it ideally likes will have much of an effect on flavour.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    I bet it does taste nicer than anything you could buy in a shop.

    • Liz says:

      I’m not sure that I’ve been able to tell the difference with previous crop – I guess because its usually so surrounded by other strong flavours – garlic, chilli and spices in curry, soy sauce etc in Chinese style dishes. Perhaps I should try a sweet dish with it and then I reckon I’d be able to taste the difference better. We do have access to reasonable quality young ginger locally, if I didn’t have that then I’d probably be saying something completely different.

  3. Hi Liz,

    I’ve been debating for a while whether to try and grow ginger and having found my ginger root now sprouting in the cupboard yesterday and reading your post this morning I reckon the fates are telling me to give it a go!! Any tips on getting it started-it’s going to be in a pot in the greenhouse.

  4. Phoebe says:

    Oooh Liz! Ginger growing in Melbourne! What sort of position was it grown in? I’d love to give it a go.

    • Liz says:

      Pretty shady, it probably got sun a couple of hours and day and that was early morning. It seems to enjoy shade. I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

  5. We have an ornamental ginger plant. I wonder if we could eat those tubers – not that I intend trying!

  6. Wonderful! And it grows in shade? I could use more things that grow well in shade. I have all my sunny spots full of things I use, but the shady spots kind of baffle me. Ginger in pots would be perfect by my back deck.

  7. becky3086 says:

    I have some that I bought at the grocery store growing in a pot in the greenhouse now. It just sprouted though so it will be while before I can tell how it is going to grow.

  8. Hmm. Never tried growing ginger. I think I’ll stick with the easy stuff for now!

    • Liz says:

      Its funny I think easy all depends on your point of view. I kleep seeing all these pics and comments about people having rampant coriander and I really struggle to grow the stuff. ditto carrots they never work that well for me. Ginger on the other hand I found really easy – assuming I remembered to feed and water it.

  9. Wendy says:

    Wow, that IS beautiful! If you can produce that root, I’d say yes, definitely worth it. Not necessary money wise, but how cool is it to grow ginger!!

    • Liz says:

      I know – The gardening nerd in me wants to run done the street triumphantly holding it afloat, but so far my more rational side has prevented it…maybe tomorrow.

  10. leduesorelle says:

    Terrific share, Liz! No need to run down the street, we’re all here and most excited for you! A friend gave me a sprout from his plant, and I’d just stuck it in a pot to see what it would do. By what you’ve shown, I’ll need a much bigger pot and replant it deeper…

  11. Christina says:

    Thank you for this ginger-growing advice. I have had a hard time getting mine to do much, and I think I’m just not feeding it enough. This is very good to know. Yours looks gorgeous.

    • Liz says:

      I had a similar problem growing mine in the ground last year, this year I gave it a bit (couple of hours a day) of sun – last years was grown in total shade, and fed it a lot more and that does seem to have made all the difference. .

  12. Shane says:

    Great article, and yes it is very satisfying to grow ginger in Melbourne. A mostly sunny spot seems to work for me, several inches into a coffee grounds compost. What it doesn’t like is the cold! So we need to grow what we can when we can, and as with most plants, cast a jealous eye to the climate of the northern states.

    Seem to have the same with arrowroot – keep the soil as warm as you can to survive Winter and come back strong in Spring.

    • Liz says:

      I haven’t tried it in much sun, perhaps I’ll give my pot more this year. Arrowroot is interesting what do you use it for?

  13. Kirsten says:

    Very glad I came across this page. I’ve been wanting to grow ginger in Melbourne for ages, and this year I’m giving it a go. Thought I’d do a quick google to see whether I’m wasting my time, and it appears I won’t be. Thanks for giving me some tips. I’ll try it in a pot rather than in the ground like I was originally thinking :)

    • Liz says:

      Hi Kirsten, Glad to be of help. I didn’t get huge crops but it was fun and worth doing. I think the keys are lots of food and water, and even a bit of sun. Hope yours does well for you.

  14. Evelyn says:

    Hi Liz, I wanna give growing ginger a go, but don’t know when I should plant it. I live in Melbourne and plan to plant it in a semi-shaded part of my backyard. When do you recommend I plant ginger and where do you think I should get it from? To be honest I have no experience planting anything except bean sprouts on wet cotton in a cup.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      Late Spring is probably the best time to plant it in Melbourne. I got my rhizomes from Greenharvest.com.au but you could also have a go at sprouting some ginger that you buy to eat. I haven’t tried that yet but others have. http://gardentowok.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/harvest-monday-january-14-2013-rooting-ginger-rhizome/ – That post is from a blog based in the US so the timings are out but she describes how to get it to shoot. In Melbourne outdoors I have never had it shoot before late November but if you tried to get it to shoot inside and then planted it out later you might be able to get it going earlier.

  15. Pingback: Ginger in Melbourne? | Foodnstuff

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