When we plant ginger, we expect to get a nice fat healthy rhizome once all the growing is done and dusted. Reality is a bit different because getting the fertilizer wrong can give you a great-looking lush green plant above ground and very little rhizome in the ground. Read on to get the right formula and work out what fertilizer is best for growing ginger.
Does ginger need fertilizer?
Ginger is a very heavy feeder and will require some nutrient supply to grow a worthwhile-sized rhizome that can be harvested. So, it can be fair to state that ginger does require fertilizer to maintain good growth throughout the growing season.
The trick here is to match the fertilizer to the plant, and to have confidence that the chosen fertilizer is safe for both you and the plant. Many commercial fertilizers actually harm the surrounding environment where they are used.
For the home gardener, fertilizers can be required as part of the process of how to care for a ginger plant.
How do you fertilize a ginger plant?
There are several ways to keep the nutrients up to a ginger plant; they all have advantages and disadvantages. The list below is the more common fertilizer types.
- Chemical fertilizers
- Natural fertilizers.
- Animal manure fertilizers.
They all have a place, and how you approach gardening will point you towards one or more of these. We only use animal manures and compost to grow our produce.
Does ginger like coffee grounds?
The pH level of the average coffee ground is around 6.5, making it smack bang in the zone for ginger. Ginger is native to the tropics, and the soils in this area are predominantly acidic, even reaching below 5.5 pH.
Just because we have extracted what we want from the coffee bean doesn’t mean that no nutrients are left in the residue. The opposite is true, as there are many elements still available that the ginger plant can utilize as it grows.
Is foliar fertilizer good for ginger?
Foliar fertilizers can benefit ginger but should be applied only if the soil does not have enough nutrients for ginger.
If you wish to apply foliar foods, do so within the first 2-3 months so the plant can best use the micronutrients. Any later than that can give fantastic green foliage and little to no benefit to the rhizome growth.
How do you increase the yield of ginger?
To maximize the yield of your ginger plant, understanding the growth habits of the ginger plant can help you increase the yield of the harvest, including the timing and amounts of particular nutrients that are best applied as the plant grows.
We prefer to grow ginger without the use of manufactured fertilizers because of the observations we have been able to make while living in a tropical area.
We mimic the natural nutrient recycling processes, allowing us to give the ginger what it needs when it needs it. There are many different fertilizer blends, and they differ in the NKP ratios quite a lot, so it can be confusing.
We, therefore, fall back on the natural systems and learn from them. It is far more cost-effective for the self-sufficient home gardener.
Because we do copy the natural systems where ginger grows naturally, we know the benefits of keeping the soil covered. “Does ginger need mulch?” looks at ginger specifically here.
What do I feed my ginger plant?
The best way to feed your ginger plant is through the natural pathways created at the soil surface/mulch interface. If the moisture is maintained, this zone becomes very active in microscopic life, and this is what feeds the ginger.
If you have a slow release fertilizer that supplies minerals, micronutrients, and trace elements that is then covered with mulch, this is the best way to grow ginger without having to resort to constant feeding.
Is Epsom salt good for ginger plants?
Epsom salt is good for ginger because the primary element of Epsom salt is magnesium, and this helps plants with the uptake of other minerals that would otherwise be locked out for that plant.
This is why some plants and trees can have yellowing leaves, and after applying Epsom, the leaves often return to a healthy green.
Epsom salt should only be applied if needed, and if you are following a natural growing practice with composts and manures, it is unlikely you will need to use this stuff.
How often should ginger be fertilized?
The frequency of fertilizer application is directly related to how good your soil prep was before you planted the ginger. If you have a good slow-release method for supplying nutrients and minerals to the plant as it grows, you may not need to apply fertilizer during the growing season.
If your ginger is in a pot and indoors, it is likely that you will need to feed your plant as the soil is more likely to become depleted as the rhizome grows.
This is a natural result because the natural environment of the ginger is the tropical setting where nutrients are recycled constantly and are generally available as the plant needs them. We cannot duplicate this process in a pot, so it is up to you to feed the plant.
Is chicken manure good for ginger?
Chicken manure is great for ginger as long as the manure has been aged for a few weeks to a couple of months before applying it. This tones down the aggressiveness of the manure and will limit the burning that fresh manure can cause.
We personally use a lot of chicken manure, and we have a designer recipe that we feed to the chickens to supercharge the mineral availability for the plants. It is in slow-release form, and the gingers love it. We only apply this to areas dedicated to harvesting the ginger as a crop.
Is cow manure good for ginger?
Yes, cow manure is very good for ginger because it is a mild slow-release fertilizer that is gentle to all plants. This still needs to be aged a little to remove the volatile components like excess nitrogen.
Dig this manure into the soil before planting, and once the seed rhizomes are buried, mulch the garden and water it in. This can be enough for a season if you get enough of the manure into the soil. It will slowly decompose, and this is what you want.
Fertilizers can be the difference between growing a good crop of rhizomes and growing lots of lovely green leaves with small rhizomes.
Slow-release natural fertilizers can be a great way to feed the required nutrients to the ginger as the plant needs them, and manufactured fertilizers can give the minimum requirements but often lack the micronutrients that can make the difference.
Article by Tim Blanch for TheTropicalHomestead.com. He is a qualified Permaculture designer.