What’s Up with the Gingers?
The raised bed that had the ginger family plants really did pretty well by the end of the season. They typically take longer than one growing season to produce mature rhizomes, so we decided to dig them up and save them for next year.
The plants all grew well this year, once they were established. The cardamom was by far the smallest, shown here in the very front. When the nights started getting down into the 40s, we decided to pot them up. We tried to dig up a large root area to keep them growing well. We moved them into my office under my light stand.
Unfortunately, I had to trim the three larger plants back a bit to fit them under my lights. I don’t think this will be an option next fall.
I did pull off a piece of each of the three edible rhizomes. (The cardamom has small rhizomes. The spice part is the seed pod. This takes about 3 years to develop.) The light pink rhizome on the left is the greater galangal. The center rhizome is turmeric, and the right rhizome is the ginger. Technically, all of the rhizomes could be used at this stage, before they develop the fibrousness and skin typical of the mature root. They are crispy, succulent, and fragrant at this stage. Of course, they wouldn’t last long without the skins.
You could also regenerate the plant from these pieces. Each of the little nodules or pointy nodes you can see on the rhizomes will grow a new shoot.
The plan for now is to keep the plants alive for the winter. Or, at a minimum, keep enough of the rhizomes alive to regrow next year!
Friday PhotoEssay – September 23, 2016
It’s been a few weeks since the last Friday PhotoEssay, and the garden has definitely changed.
I think the biggest change is simply the fact that while it is still a jungle out there, many of the tomatoes and vines are much more brown than green. The peppers are even starting to show some wear and tear. I think the only thing that is still unabashedly green is the luffa gourd vine…which has still not started blooming!
On the other hand, we planted the Passionflower vine for the flowers and caterpillars, but we do have some fruit set. I don’t know if it will ripen before it gets cold, but it’s still pretty neat to have fruit.
There was a point where I think we all felt like the Ginger bed wasn’t going to amount to much, but the plants have really done well! Clockwise from the left-most plant: Greater Galangal, Turmeric, Ginger, Cardamom. We are going to try digging the plants, potting them up, and keeping them for next year.
While the Black Scorzonera doesn’t look like much from the top, I’m actually very pleased with how the plants are doing. What remains to be seen is what the roots look like, but it typically isn’t harvested until after a couple frosts, so we have some time yet.
The flowering purple carrot / false Ammi from the Purple Garden has really started looking good. It took all season, but it has some nice flowers on it now. Because it’s technically a carrot that bolts easily, if we pulled it the roots should look like a poor quality purple carrot.
Our pollinator / herb garden is looking really good right now, although the milkweeds are getting a bit gangly. The zinnias in particular are very attractive. Now all we need is for the sages to be in full bloom!
Have a great weekend!
2016 Garden Plans: Hops & Gingers
The final two raised beds are both 4’x4′ square beds.
In Bed 9, we are planting a ‘Cascade’ Hops vine to grow for the next few years. Hops are used for brewing beer, and we have been getting more and more questions about growing them. The young shoots of the vine can also be harvested like asparagus and eaten. The vine can grow 10+ feet per year. It is also a good food source for butterflies. We ended up planting some caraway seeds around the hops vine as well, just to fill the space until it grows.
Bed 10 is not yet planted, since the weather isn’t quite warm enough yet. This bed will feature plants from the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae).
Ginger used fresh is becoming more familiar to the average American cook, but it is still uncommon in the garden due to the tropical characteristics of the plant. Other flavoring or spice plants that are in the same family of tropical include cardamom, turmeric, and galangal. These plants will also have a share of this garden. It remains to be seen if they will do much, but it will be fun to watch them grow.