|Latin Name : Zingiber Officinale|
|Family : Zingiberaceae|
|Nutritional Value : 12 g protein, 21 mg calcium, 0.5 mg iron, 90 IU vitamin A, 4 mg vitamin C per 100g serving|
|Common names : Common Ginger, Cooking Ginger, Canton Ginger, East Indian Pepper, Jamaica Ginger, Jamaica Pepper|
Ginger is a slender grassy perennial herb, native to tropical Asia. The plant is widely grown for its edible rhizomes (underground stem), which have a distinctive scent and taste and is usually grown as an annual for harvesting as a spice.
The plant grows about 4" with tall, erect, dark green shoots and leaves around 3cm wide and 6-7" tall. The shoots grow from the branched aromatic underground stem (rizome). The rizome is yellowish brownon the outside and are covered with fine fibrous roots. The inner layer is pale yellow in colour. The small yellow-green flowers marked with purple speckles and cream coloured spots are borne in clusters in a separate leafless stem around 3" in height. Fruits contain small, black seeds and are rarely seen.
Ginger rizome is widely used around the world as a spice or food additive and marketed as fresh or dried spice.It is used as a taste maker and to add flavour to food. Besides its culinary uses, it is important for its medicinal qualities. It is an stimulant and helps digestion and circulation. Fresh ginger a fresh, cool ginger taste while the dried spice is hot and pungent taste of the dried powder.
Propagation, Planting and Harvesting :
Ginger is grown in all seasons through out the year. Most of the cultivars are sterile i.e flowers are rarely seen and is mainly grown for the rizome. The plant prefer rich, well-drained, sandy loam or clay soil and plenty of indirect sunlight and water. Generally gingers prefer shade, but it will tolerate full sun if adequate water is provided. Soil should be well draining and heavily manured with compost or dried leaf a few weeks before planting.
The plant is always propagated by portions of rhizomes known as seed rhizome or setts. Cut large rhizome into sections, making sure that each has some good buds or eyes cropping out. Before planting, wash the rhizome pieces in running water and plant these pieces on the ground about an inch below the surface of the soil. Water sparingly until the new growth sprouts occur.It will grow well in containers also.
The time from planting to maturity will vary with the climatic conditions.Plants should be allowed to grow for at least three to four months before the rhizomes are harvested. Ginger is harvested by digging out rhizomes when the tops have died down. The rhizomes are lifted from the earth, cleared of all adhering matter by washing, and then is sun-dried to help preserve them. The rhizome reach mature size 6-9 months after planting and the leaves dry down naturally. If left undisturbed, the rhizomes will sprout new buds and the plant will repeat the growth cycle.
Problems and Care :
Soft rot is the most destructive disease of ginger which results in total loss of affected clumps. Selection of well drained soils for planting is important for managing the disease, since stagnation of water may result in plant infection. Selecting healthy seed rizomes will prevent incidence of rhizome scales (Aspidiella hartii), plant parasitic nematodes (Meloidogyne spp., Pratylenchus spp. and Radopholus similis) and bacterial wilt. Herbicide may also be used.
Weeding should be done regularly depending on the intensity of the weed growth. Mulching is also beneficial as it increases organic matter, conserves soil moisture and prevents washing of soil due to heavy rains. Flowered canes should be removed yearly.
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