It is best to plant ginger and turmeric rhizomes in spring or early summer. Inspect the rhizomes to ensure they are healthy and contain buds that will produce shoots after planting. Rhizomes can be soaked for several hours before planting to help stimulate sprouting. A segment of rhizome at least two inches long with several buds is commonly used when planting a new crop. Plant the rhizomes about one foot apart and no more than two inches deep in the soil. It’s best to take a soil sample before planting in a new location to determine the soil pH and existing nutrients. That information will help determine which nutrients are necessary to add. At the time of planting, about two ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer can be mixed into the soil immediately surrounding each rhizome. An additional three to four ounces of fertilizer can be added about every six weeks until harvest. After planting keep the soil consistently moist with light and frequent irrigation. After planting, expect shoots to begin to emerge after a month or two. After at least nine months of growth, rhizomes are ready to be harvested by digging up the underground rhizomes. Gently wash and dry the rhizomes, then store them in an open and dry location away from direct sunlight.
Ginger and turmeric rhizomes can be consumed fresh, dried, ground into powder, or candied. Both spices can be used for nearly innumerable dishes and beverages that range from very spicy to mild and soothing. Ginger and turmeric have also been used for many centuries for medicinal purposes. Each contains antioxidants that can aid in reducing oxidative stress to cells. Ginger can help reduce symptoms of nausea for some and turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. These two plants are among the easiest to grow, incredibly flavorful, and may provide medicinal benefits. Given how easily these plants can be grown and the many benefits they provide, everyone should consider adding ginger and turmeric to their garden.