Ginger is an important commercial plant due to its aromatic stem. It is a herbaceous perennial plant and botanically known as Zingiber officinale. The stem of ginger is used as a spice. Ginger is a tropical plant found in temperate regions such as mountainous regions.
According to Jamil Mugerwa, a ginger farmer in Butambala district, ginger can be grown organically as a catch crop or as a mixed crop with other crops, provided all other crops are grown organically.
The chosen site should be well drained, preferably in an area where ginger has not been grown. As a shade plant, ginger can also be grown as an intermediate plant in gardens.
“Ginger plays an important economic role as a medicinal herb, food flavoring and dietary supplement. As a result, he was in demand throughout the year. This is why farmers always make good profits,” he says.
Ginger requires fertile, well-drained clay soil. Planting the crop in heavy clay limits the development of bold smooth rhizomes, and in this case drainage is essential. It is advisable to put a lot of compost or rotted manure in the garden. Plant one ginger per square meter. You will need 1.5-1.7 tons of ginger root to plant one hectare. This depends on when the crop is harvested, higher rates apply if the crop needs to be harvested early. Growing ginger does not take up much space at all.
Each planted rhizome will initially grow only a few leaves in one place. Over time, it becomes a dense clump and grows very slowly, but only if it is not harvested. “After planting the ginger root, water it thoroughly. The soil should never dry out. In a week or two, you will see the leaves of the ginger plant. As the leaves unfold, water sparingly, but when watering the ginger root, water deeply. If you grow ginger in the ground, cover it thickly. It helps retain soil moisture, it also feeds the ginger as the mulch breaks down and keeps weeds at bay,” says Mugerwa.
Weeding is critical because of the longer growing season, slow initial growth, and poor early ground cover. Hand weeding should be done with minimal disturbance to avoid crop damage. Perennial grasses must be removed before planting. Old banana boards are not suitable due to the risk of nematode infection. “With proper care, ginger can reach a height of two to four feet,” he says.
Mugerwa says ginger absorbs a large number of nutrients. The general fertilizer requirement is 180 kilograms. One hectare of ginger requires 11.5 bags of 14-14-14 and four bags of 0-0-60 plus five tonnes of chicken or animal manure per hectare.
“Apply manure during composting and inorganic compost as a side effect 30 and 60 days after planting. Ginger needs light but frequent watering during the vegetative stage if the rainfall is not evenly distributed,” he says.
He adds that depending on seasonal rainfall and soil type, irrigation varies between four and seven days.
Cutworms, scale insects and aphids are common pests of ginger, but do not cause significant yield loss. Some of the main diseases are leaf spot, rhizome rot and bacterial wilt. Ginger tolerates leaf spots. Rhizome rot can be prevented by hygiene and by applying Trichoderma as part of an organic fertilizer. During storage, separate healthy rhizomes from dull and discolored rhizomes.
Bacterial wilt can be avoided by planting in areas that are not prone to bacterial wilt. Then remove and burn the affected plants. Carefully preserved pest- and disease-free seed rhizomes from organic farming can be used for planting.
In the case of fresh ginger, the rhizomes are washed immediately after harvesting and dried in the shade for a day or two to partially heal the wounds before packaging and storage. Fully ripe ginger is dried in the sun for a longer shelf life.
Full maturity is reached at the age of seven to ten months, when the leaves turn yellow and begin to fall. You can start harvesting when the plants are fully grown, but depending on the market, harvesting can be done before they are fully ripe.
Just carefully dig into the sides of a knot. As the plant matures, the essential oil content decreases and the fiber content increases.