Rica Anne D. Victoriano
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) originated from the islands of Southeast Asia. It is a perennial flowering plant that has narrow leaf blades that is largely produced in India and southern Asia. Ginger is commonly used in dishes because of its pungent and spicy flavor. Outside cooking, it is also widely used in herbal medicine to help combat different ailments.
Ginger is easy to cultivate. It is a warm climate plant that is usually grown in mountainous regions or areas where there is partial shade. It is best grown in sandy loam.
It has a lot of varieties but the most common in the Philippines is the “native” variety, the one that is small in size but has a strong flavor.
Similar to potatoes, ginger plants are grown out of another ginger, or its rhizome. To begin, each rhizome must be properly planted in healthy soil.
According to Dr. Raffy Barrozo, organic agriculture expert, it is best to plant ginger during the rainy season, around April to May. It should be planted two inches deep and in about three months, the thickening of the root will be noticeable, coupled with the plant bearing leaves and flowers.
He added that a week before planting ginger, it is necessary to plow the field and remove all weeds and roots and make sure the soil will not stack water when rain pours.
Afterwards, the planted rhizomes must be irrigated regularly. Ginger thrives best with light and frequent watering. Depending on the frequency of rainfall and the type of soil it is planted in, watering should vary from every four to seven days.
Fungus is the usual pest that attacks ginger plants. It is widely known that similar plants tend to possess the same pathogens, therefore many practice crop rotation to limit the concentration of pests. However, there are crops that ginger does not go well with such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant because they tend to have pathogens that can transfer to the ginger.
It is also important to select proper fertilizers. Ginger plants are best fertilized with a mixture of 5-5-5 depending on how distant each ginger is planted.
When the leaves begin to turn yellow and starts to wilt, the roots are usually ready for harvest. Ginger is harvested by pulling out the entirety of the plant. If you desire a young ginger, harvest time should be eight months after planting. While for those who prefer mature ginger, it takes one year to harvest.
From Dr. Raffy Barrozo’s “Ginger Production” talk at the AANI Agri-Bazaar Cum Agri-Kapihan that was held at the Promenade Lane at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on October 18-20.