Farming Ginger For Profit
By Louise Brodie
Propagation of ginger is from planting out the rhizomes kept from your previous harvest. Rhizomes for planting can also be bought from suppliers or nurseries.
The ginger rhizome is broken into smaller pieces and these are used as plant material. The pieces should be about 50 to 75 grams in size and are planted into the plant area at a depth of 15 cm.
Ginger plants should be spaced 25 cm apart in rows that are 30 cm apart. This equates to approximately 100 000 to 120 000 plants per hectare. Paths for the implements and tractors are left every few rows and this depends on the width of the tractors or implements that are used.
Plant ginger in early spring to early summer. In South Africa, from late August to October is the best time.
Ginger takes eight to nine months to produce a good-sized rhizome or tuber for the harvesting of mid-season ginger in April and May for the fresh market. Late ginger is harvested almost a year after planting in June and July. Late ginger is sold fresh but is also dried and ground or used to extract the oils. Early ginger is harvested in February and early March five to six months after planting before the rhizome has had time to build up the fibre. Early ginger is normally harvested by hand to prevent damaging and bruising the rhizomes and is used in preserves.
Ginger, when planted commercially, is a heavy feeder because of the high plant density to ensure good yields. As always, have your soil properly analysed to ascertain accurate nutrient requirements. It is advisable to plough in a good amount of organic matter like compost or manure a month before planting. As a guide, the following applications of fertilizers can be used.
After planting, once the rhizomes have settled after the first irrigation about a week to ten days after the planting apply between 350 and 500 kilograms per hectare of 2:3:4 (30) along the plant rows of ginger. The same mixture can be used at 10 weeks after planting and again at 16 weeks and to 24 weeks after planting. Monitor growth and rhizome development throughout the growing season. Sprays of trace elements are also good to ensure healthy plant growth.
It is a good practice to apply mulching along the plant rows. This keeps the soil from losing moisture and controls the growth of weeds. Ginger does well in high rainfall regions, so irrigation is important over the entire growing period. An irrigation schedule of between 45 and 50 millimetres per week is advised. It is also advisable to install moisture sensors to control the moisture content of the soil.
Article and Images Source: www.southafrica.co.za
South African Ginger Competes with Chinese Imports
Ginger is a perennial plant that is cultivated as an annual crop in South Africa. It is the rhizome of the plant from the family Zingiberaceae. Other members of this plant family are cardamom and turmeric. After a growing period of 8 to 9 months, the above-ground growth dies off (June/July). If the underground creeping stems (rhizomes) are not harvested, they start growing again as soon as soil temperature increases (October/November).
Ginger is a warm climate plant. It can be grown indoors in cool/temperate areas. To grow well it needs lots of water and nutrients. Prepare the soil by adding compost which will retain some moisture but not get saturated. Add a small amount of sand to ensure drainage. Water regularly in summer to keep moist. In a pot, in addition to watering to keep moist, water ginger about once a fortnight with a seaweed or other liquid fertilizer. This perennial will die down in autumn. Remove the dead leaves. In spring lift the root clumps and break them up into smaller pieces to replant.
Ginger: A Challenging Crop but Worth the Effort:
Cultivating ginger is costly on all fronts: time, labour and water. But managed correctly the crop adds good cash flow to a farming business.
Ginger Farming Guide
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
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