Ginger originally hails from Asia and is a beloved spice used in food and for medicinal purposes.
But growing ginger in the United States is possible if you live in a moderate to a warm climate.
A square-foot gardening method is an excellent option for growing ginger, and we’ll teach you why.
Also Read: Square-Foot Gardening Green Beans [How to Plant & Care]
What Is Square-Foot Gardening?
Square-foot gardening is the concept of planting different types of vegetables in one-foot square boxes.
It’s ideal for people with small spaces who want to grow several kinds of vegetables in an easy-to-manage fashion.
Square boxes come in many sizes and can be rectangular or square, according to the space you have in your yard.
For example, if you build a four-foot by four-foot garden, you’d have 16 boxes for planting. So, you could plant ginger and 15 other types of vegetables.
Alternatively, you could grow more than one box of ginger within your square-foot garden if you love cooking with it and know you’ll need more.
Ideal Spacing for Ginger
In a traditional garden, the best spacing for ginger is 12 feet apart and at least six inches between each row of plants.
Therefore, a square-foot garden is ideal for growing one ginger plant. You can try to grow two plants if you’re in an adventurous spirit.
However, growing two ginger plants within a one-foot space will likely be too tight of quarters. So, we recommend planting one ginger plant per box in your square-foot garden.
Since commercial-grade ginger is almost always sterile, you won’t be able to grow ginger in a square-foot garden starting as a seed.
Instead, you’ll need to propagate it from a piece of ginger root.
Check out: Square Foot Gardening Fertilizer [All about to know]
How to Propagate Ginger for a Square-Foot Garden
Propagating ginger is simple. All you have to do is choose a fresh organic ginger root from the supermarket, ideally with green buds.
Then, cut a section of ginger below the bud. From there, soak the cut side of the ginger for 12 hours before planting it one inch deep into the soil of your square-foot garden.
Within a few weeks, shoots will emerge from the box. Your ginger plant will, in theory, grow up to four feet tall and two feet wide.
However, given the limited space its roots will have in a one-foot area, it’s unlikely that your plant will grow that tall.
The Effect of Companion Planting on Ginger Gardening
One of the benefits of square-foot gardening is that it naturally offers the opportunity for your ginger to benefit from different nearby plants.
The concept of this benefit is called companion planting.
Some of the best plants to grow with your ginger in a square-foot garden include:
- Bell peppers
- Chili peppers
Companion planting is a mutual relationship for ginger because its strong odor deters pests from impacting the other vegetables growing in your square-foot garden.
Meanwhile, the plants listed above offer your ginger plant several advantages, including increased shade if you live in a hot climate and pairing with ginger to reduce pests further.
Read: Square Foot Gardening Cantaloupe [Best Tips & Tricks]
Benefits of Square-Foot Gardening With Ginger
Square-foot gardens have several benefits. If you decide to use this gardening method for your ginger, below are some advantages you’ll have.
Square-foot gardens are fast to build and don’t have to be permanent. You can even put them on a portion of your driveway if the space is tight.
If nailing pieces of wood together isn’t your thing, you can purchase pre-made square-foot boxes.
Then, simply buy potting soil, fill the boxes with it, and you’ll be ready to plant your ginger.
Planting ginger in a traditional garden has the downside of the soil becoming compressed if you pass through it frequently to weed it.
So, keeping your ginger in a square-foot garden means that your root will have plenty of natural soil aeration, and you don’t have to worry about stunting its growth.
Easier to Maintain
Square-foot gardens are small by nature—small enough to reach your arm across the other side while standing in the same place to weed, water, and care for your ginger.
Because of its small size, it’s also easier to control your ginger square-foot garden’s environmental conditions.
If it seems like your ginger is getting too much sun, you can easily set up a cloth tarp to shade them.
Alternatively, fencing off your garden from rabbits and other critters takes minimal material. You can also easily throw up a temporary makeshift barrier to keep animals away from your ginger.
You’ll have fewer weeds to pull by growing your ginger in a square-foot garden compared to a traditional one.
For starters, there’s a smaller area to weed, as each plant will only have one square foot of soil.
Furthermore, provided you use potting soil, the chances are low that it’ll come with weed seeds. In contrast, dirt in a backyard garden often contains lots of seeds from weeds.
No Other Roots
Ginger doesn’t grow well in areas with many roots from other plants.
Therefore, planting ginger in a square-foot garden guarantees that your plant can spread without root restriction from other plants.
Have a look: Square Foot Gardening Cauliflower
Downsides to Square-Foot Gardening With Ginger
There are many advantages to growing ginger in a square-foot garden. But we’d be remiss not to point out some areas where this garden isn’t ideal. They are as follows.
Ginger Can Overtake Other Plants
The above-ground vegetation part of ginger can grow as high as four feet and as wide as two feet. Therefore, ginger can often encroach on other plants in a square-foot garden.
Square-foot gardens are ideal for lower-growing plants, such as carrots, herbs, and radishes.
That said, although your ginger will grow taller than these plants, it likely won’t reach its full growth potential, given that it’ll sense its limited space.
Only One Plant Per Box
One square foot of space is on the verge of being an acceptable amount of area to grow two ginger plants. But it would require you to plant the ginger root at the far ends of the box.
Therefore, this spacing isn’t the same as in a traditional garden, where you can get more space bang for your buck.
Your ginger might grow this way, but its root system will have limited space.
Potentially Too Shallow
Ginger has two types of roots: Fibrous and fleshy.
The fleshy portion of ginger root you harvest grows laterally near the top layer of the soil. But its fibrous roots have near indefinite deeper growth.
Fibrous roots are the thin roots responsible for finding water and nutrients. Therefore if your square-foot garden is too shallow, these roots might feel too restricted and impede growth.
Many well-meaning gardeners build six-inch deep square-foot gardens.
But we recommend ensuring your ginger box is at least 12 feet deep.
Traditional gardening can be a cheap hobby. But square-foot gardens come with a higher initial upfront cost.
The most affordable way to build a square-foot garden is by making it yourself. Otherwise, you can buy one online for a higher price.
The good news is that once you put in the initial upfront cost, it’s cheap to maintain square-foot gardens.
Watering ginger in square-foot gardens is easy, given that there’s such a small space.
However, there’s such little soil that it dries out faster. So, you’ll need to water your ginger more frequently in a square-foot garden than in a traditional garden.
Some people like creating built-in irrigation for their ginger. That makes these gardens even more low-maintenance.
Check post: How to Grow Turnips in a Square-Foot Garden
When To Plant Ginger
You can grow ginger year-round in warm climates, such as in southern Florida.
But if you live in a cooler area like coastal Oregon, it’s best to wait until early spring to plant it in your square-foot garden.
Ideally, you should aim to plant your ginger with other vegetables or herbs with a similar growing time.
Otherwise, your ginger vegetation could create too much shade. So, any seeds you plant later that require full or partial sun won’t have as good of a chance of survival.
Ideal Ginger Growing Conditions
Below is a chart to orient you on the best conditions you should give your ginger plant when growing it in a square-foot garden.
|Soil type||Sandy loam or potting soil|
|Amount of sunlight||Partly shady in warm weather, full sun in cool weather|
|Amount of water||Approximately one inch per week|
|Soil pH||Neutral or slightly alkaline|
Remember that your ginger soil will dry out faster in a square-foot garden than in a traditional garden.
So, in sweltering weather, ginger might require more than one inch of water per week.
Furthermore, it’s essential to know that ginger grows best in USDA zones 8 to 12. So, if you don’t live in this region and have an outdoor square-foot garden, you’ll be setting up your ginger for failure if you don’t prepare.
Let’s use Pennsylvania as an example. If people in Pennsylvania start growing ginger indoors in March, they can transfer it into a square-foot garden box in the summer with good results.
Read: Square Foot Gardening Squash [Most 7 Benefits]
When To Harvest Ginger From Your Square-Foot Garden
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to harvesting ginger from a square-foot garden.
Its taste will vary according to when you pick it. But regardless, you should wait until your ginger has had at least four months to grow.
At the four to the six-month mark, ginger will have a mild flavor and more tender flesh. That’s before ginger develops stringy fibers and when it has a pink hue.
Picking this baby ginger is ideal if you want to pickle it.
If you’d like to harvest full-grown ginger from your square-foot garden, wait until the end of the growing season.
The ten to 12-month mark is ideal for harvesting. But gardeners in cooler climates won’t have this luxury, and that’s okay.
How To Harvest Ginger From a Square-Foot Garden
Harvesting ginger from a square-foot garden is a breeze. You don’t have to trudge through a garden and worry about disturbing other plants.
It does take a bit of planning, though, if you want to harvest ginger before the tops dry on their own.
About two or three weeks before you want to pick your still green-topped ginger, cut off the tops.
Then, two or three weeks later, you can reap the benefits of your vegetable. Simply stick your hands in the square-foot garden’s soil and remove the rhizomes.
You can also use a shovel instead of your hands; you don’t have to worry about damaging other plant roots in a square-foot garden box.
Check Post: Square Foot Gardening Zucchini
To Leave Rhizomes or Not
During your square-foot ginger garden harvest, you have two options: Pull up the entire rhizome or leave a portion in the soil.
Leaving some of the rhizomes behind will allow the plant to continue to grow. That’s an excellent option if it’s still early in the season or if you live in a warm climate.
But if a harsh winter is approaching, it’s best to pull the entire rhizome out of your square-foot garden.
Should you wish to plant ginger in your garden the following year, save a portion of the rhizome.
Simply store it in a dry place that doesn’t drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’ll then thrive in your square-foot garden when you plant it the following year.
Additionally, you may like some more gardening articles:
- Marigold Square Foot Gardening [3 Easy Steps to Plant]
- Square Foot Gardening Kohlrabi [6 Tips to Grow]
- Square Foot Gardening Herbs [Best Tips to Grow]
- Beets Square-Foot Gardening [All about Beets]
- Square Foot Gardening Parsley [How & Where to Grow]
- Square Foot Gardening Garlic [Methods To Grow]
- Square Foot Gardening Sweet Potatoes
Are You Ready to Set Up Your Square-Foot Ginger Garden?
Growing ginger in a square-foot garden is a rewarding experience. Doing so requires little space and minimal care.
Traditional gardens offer ginger the benefit of uninhibited growth.
But since most people don’t eat copious amounts of ginger, the portion that grows in a single square-foot garden box is often more than sufficient.
Of course, you can always plant ginger in more than one box if you’d like more.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.