Growing Ginger In Ontario

Growing Ginger In Ontario

Oct 23, 2023

I love ginger! (Except for ginger beer, ironically.😉) Ginger, with its aromatic and spicy flavor, has long been a favorite in many households. Not only does it add a zesty kick to our meals, but it also boasts numerous health benefits. Most of us pick up our ginger from the local grocery store. And even fewer of us think about where it comes from. But what if I told you that growing ginger in Canada, especially Ontario, is not only possible but also a rewarding gardening endeavor?

With a little bit of knowledge and patience, you can enjoy home-grown ginger even in the colder climates of Canada.


Latin name: Zingiber officinale Roscoe

Family: Zingiberaceae

Difficulty: Intermediate

Season: Warm season

Exposure: Dappled light and protection from strong winds; partial shade


How to Grow Ginger in Ontario

Growing ginger starts with the rhizome – the underground stem of the ginger plant. You might recognize it as the knobby piece you buy at the store. When selecting a rhizome for planting, ensure that it's plump, firm, and has several eye buds on it (similar to potato eyes).

Pre-sprouting:

Before planting the ginger rhizome, it's a good idea to pre-sprout it. This can be done by placing the rhizome in a container with warm water for a few hours. Then, lay it on a tray with paper towels and keep it in a warm, humid area. In a few days, you should see the eyes start to grow shoots. This gives the ginger a head start, especially in Canada's shorter growing season.

Soil and Planting:

Ginger prefers rich, loamy soil that drains well. Mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to provide the necessary nutrients. When you're ready to plant, pick a spot in your garden that gets partial to full shade. In Ontario, the intense midday sun during the summer can be harsh for ginger. Plant the rhizomes 2-4 inches deep, with the eye buds facing up.


Watering and Care:

Ginger needs consistently moist soil. However, avoid waterlogged conditions as this can cause the rhizomes to rot. During dry spells in Ontario's summer, ensure you water your ginger plants regularly. As the plant grows, it will also benefit from a monthly feeding of an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.


Growing Ginger Indoors in Winter

You may be wondering, "How about that Canadian winter? Can ginger survive that?" While ginger is a tropical plant that won't withstand Ontario's freezing temperatures, growing ginger indoors in winter is an excellent option. Here are some things you should consider:

Container Choice:

Select a spacious container with good drainage. Ginger roots spread horizontally, so opting for a wide pot is more beneficial than a deep one.

Location:

Place the container in a spot where it can receive indirect sunlight. An east or west-facing window would be ideal. If natural light is limited, fluorescent grow lights can also do the trick.

Maintain Humidity:

Ginger thrives in humid conditions. In winter, the indoor air can get quite dry, so it's essential to maintain humidity around your plant. This can be achieved by placing a tray filled with water near the plant or occasionally misting the plant.

Regular Check-ups:

Keep an eye on your ginger plant throughout the winter. Ensure the soil remains moist but not soggy. If you notice any yellowing leaves, it could be a sign of overwatering.


Harvesting Your Ginger

After about 8-10 months, your patience will start to pay off. The ginger plant will begin to go dormant, with the leaves turning yellow and dying off. This is an indication that the rhizomes are ready for harvest. Gently dig around the base of the plant, taking care not to damage the rhizomes. You don’t have to harvest the entire plant at once. Simply cut off the amount of ginger you need and leave the rest to continue growing.


Wrapping Up

Growing ginger in Ontario might seem like a daunting task at first. The challenges of Canada's climate can be intimidating. However, with a bit of planning and care, it's entirely doable. Whether you're growing it outdoors during the warmer months or cultivating it indoors when the snow starts to fall, the joy of harvesting your ginger is unmatched.


So, the next time you're sipping some ginger tea or adding a slice to your stir-fry, imagine how satisfying it would be to know it came from your garden.


If you tried to grow ginger in the past, or planning to grow it now thanks to this “how to grow ginger” guide, let me know in the comments. Happy gardening!