Introduction to growing Ginger hydroponically: Ginger growing hydroponically offers advantages over other methods of cultivation. The Ginger needs much less maintenance than if you were to grow it in soil and little space is necessary for the amount of harvest you will obtain. You should plant Ginger from a piece of the root (also called a rhizome) with a visible bud. While for most of its life the plant will not grow in soil, it is helpful to start the plant in compost and move it to a hydroponic system later. The ginger plant does grow in water. Growing Ginger in water has more advantages over traditional cultivation. Growing hydroponic Ginger take less maintenance and less space. In this article we also discussed the following topics;
- Hydroponic Ginger growing conditions
- Optimal pH for Ginger growing hydroponically
- How fast do hydroponic plants grow
- Hydroponic Ginger nutrient requirements
- How long does it take to grow Ginger hydroponics
- Advantages of growing plants by using hydroponics
A step by step guide to growing Ginger hydroponically
Ginger grows very well in a hydroponics system. Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family of tropical and subtropical plants. The hydroponic system has many advantages like 90% usage of less water, 0% soil requirement, and faster growth rate. Hydroponic grow plants not in soil but in water that is enriched with nutrients. The procedure is water-efficient and can be done easily in tight quarters.
Characteristics of Ginger plant
The plant itself comprises several upright, grass-like leaves that grow from the rhizome, which has fibrous and thick roots. The Ginger plant steadily expands with the production of new rhizomes (the roots come first and generate the stalks from which leaves grow). The characteristic odor and flavor of Ginger come from fragrant essential oils, mainly Gingerols, found within the rhizome.
The success or failure of Ginger production is determined by the health of the “seed pieces” or pieces of the rhizome and the health of the soil. Diseases that are particularly fusarium and pithium and pests like nematodes can seriously reduce production.
All growers anticipate losses every season due to disease. However, most growers believe that 10% of losses in a patch are acceptable and, at times, some patches can experience over 80% losses.
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Benefits of growing Ginger hydroponically
The advantages of hydroponics can be given below;
- By providing constant and readily available nutrition, hydroponics plants grow up to 50% faster than they would in soil. And, fresh produce can be harvested from a hydroponic garden throughout the year.
- Great for the environment, hydroponic gardening virtually eliminates the need for herbicides and pesticides compared to traditional soil gardening.
- Any water that is used in a hydroponic system stays in the system and can be reused, reducing the constant need for freshwater supply.
- Arable land is in short supply and gardening space continues to decrease. A great option when you lack yard space or have a tiny balcony, hydroponics lends itself well to indoor gardening.
- Plants’ roots generally expand and spread out in search of foods, and oxygen in the soil. This is not the case in the Hydroponics system, where the roots are sunk in a tank full of oxygenated nutrient solution and directly contact with vital minerals. This means you can grow plants much closer, and consequently huge space savings.
- Hydroponic growers can have total control temperature, humidity, light intensification, the composition of the air. You can grow plants all year round regardless of the season. Farmers can produce foods at a suitable time to maximize their business profits.
- Plants grown hydroponically can use 10% of water compared to field-grown ones. In this technique, water is recirculated. Hydroponic plants will take up the necessary water, while run-off ones will be captured and return to the system. Water loss occurs in two forms – evaporation and leaks from the system (but an efficient hydroponic setup will minimize or don’t have any leaks).
Propagation of hydroponic Ginger
Ginger plants are surprisingly easy to propagate from rhizomes purchased from the supermarket, grocery market, or online. Ginger sold as fresh rhizomes, although they may have been in storage for several weeks to months before sale. The buds present on the sides of the rhizomes remain relatively flat and difficult to see. Once conditions become warm, these buds start to swell.
Optimal growing mixes during the propagation are sterilized perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber or rock wool, which helps retain moisture but at the same time won’t become oversaturated, which can encourage rhizome root. Pieces of rhizome are pushed into the growing substrate in a shallow tray to a depth of around 2 inches with any visible buds facing upwards. The tray is then best placed on a heated propagation mat to speed up the rate of shoot formation. Ideal temperatures surrounding the rhizome pieces are around 82 to 90°F in the growing media at this stage. Buds should start to swell and grow along the sides of the rhizomes within 2 to 4 weeks, and as they emerge, young roots will form around the base of the shoot.
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The First Shoot
After the first leaf has emerged and unfurled, the sprouted rhizome transplanted to a larger container or growing bed and the first application of dilute nutrient solution applied. As the rhizomes are developing the first shoot, a moderate level of light that is used in a propagation area for clones and cuttings can be used, with a relative humidity level of 80 to 90 percent. Because the Ginger plants produce an underground crop of rhizomes, a soft, friable, moisture-retentive growing substrate is ideal. Coco fiber fines mixed with 20 percent perlite or vermiculite or perlite mix is ideal, although the plants are quite adaptable to a range of other substrates. Large pots, buckets, and beds are ideal, provided the depth of substrate is at least 12 inches to allow for the large size of the root system at Ginger plant maturity.
Process of growing Ginger hydroponically
To start Ginger in hydroponics, you will not be rooting the Ginger in water. Although for the majority of the plant’s life, Ginger will be grown hydroponically, it is best to root a piece of the rhizome in compost first and then move it to a hydroponic system later. And cut a rhizome into several pieces with a bud on each. Because it’s a good idea to plant several to ensure the germination process. Fill a pot with compost and plant the pieces about an inch or 2.5 cm deep into the soil. Then, water the pot well and regularly. Prepare a hydroponic system to receive the Ginger plants. They require about 1 square foot (.09 sq. m.) of growing room per plant. The tray you will be placing the plants in should be between 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) deep. Continue to check if the rhizomes have germinated. When they have produced stems and leaves, remove the strongest plants from the soil and rinse off their roots.
Put 2 inches of the growing medium into the hydroponic system container. Immediately put the Ginger plants on top of the growing medium, spreading out the roots. Space plants about 12 inches apart. Pour in enough growing medium to cover the roots and keep the Ginger plants in place. Set up your hydroponic system to water and feed the Ginger every 2 hours or so. Use a standard hydroponic nutrient solution to nourish the Ginger plants, according to the instructions provided by your hydroponic system manufacturer. Keep the pH level of the fluid between 5.5 and 8.0.
Provide your plants with plenty of light, allowing them to rest for at least 8 hours out of every 24. Natural sunlight or artificial grow lights will good for this purpose. After about 4 months, your plants will have produced rhizomes to their fullest capacity. Harvest the plant roots, wash and dry them, and store them. Each Ginger plant can produce up to 1 lb. of Ginger root.
Hook up the hydroponic system to water and feed the Ginger plants about every 2 hours using a standard hydroponic nutrient solution. Keep the pH level of the fluid between 5.5 and 8.0. Give the plants 18 hours of light per day, allowing them to rest for 8 hours. Within about 4 months, the Ginger plants will have produced rhizomes and can be harvested. Harvest the rhizomes, wash and dry them and then store them in a cool, dry area.
It is also possible to stick a slightly rooted piece of the rhizome into a container of water. It will continue to grow and also produce leaves. Change out the water as required. Ginger can be harvested relatively young and small; however, full-sized, large rhizomes can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months from planting. Ginger plants must be spaced 18 inches apart, provided light levels are sufficiently high. And this will give a dense canopy of foliage that makes a tall backdrop for smaller ornamental foliage and flowering plants in amenity plantings.
Harvesting Ginger is very simple. Plants can be harvested before this stage as young rhizomes are tenderer and fully usable, they won’t store for extended periods. Ginger plants can be pulled from the growing substrate, which has been allowed to dry down for a few days, and the rhizomes plucked from the root system.
Systems and growing conditions for hydroponic Ginger
Drip hydroponic systems are most suitable for growing Ginger, and these heat-loving plants will happily grow alongside tomatoes, capsicums, cucumbers, melons, and other fruiting plants because they have similar nutritional requirements. Once Ginger plants have 2 to 3 leaves, light levels can be increased to full strength, with similar intensities as many other high light crops grown in indoor gardens. While shading can be tolerated and doesn’t detract from the attractive nature of the foliage, it does reduce rhizome yields and increases the harvesting time. Ginger plants are best mounded up as the rhizomes increase. Mounding refers to adding a more growing medium around the base of the plant, which helps increase crop yields and the quality of the harvested product.
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Day length is not an issue with these plants, but they do want warmth with optimal levels of 72-86°F, although both will happily grow at temperatures higher than this. Cool conditions will slow or prevent growth, so these Ginger plants are ideal candidates for growing outdoors in summer and bringing inside to overwinter and continue producing in winter in the tropical heat and light of a well-lit garden.
Humidity requirement for hydroponic Ginger
Ideally, Ginger prefers humid conditions of 70 to 90 percent. By growing them in large, densely planted clumps, they can create their microclimate of humidity, combined with a damp growing medium, tends to lead to optimal growth. Low humidity will cause the lower, older plant leaves to develop slight tip burn, which can be trimmed if necessary. Placing Ginger plants in the most humid area of an indoor garden is the best course of action.
Hydroponic nutrients for growing Ginger
General-purpose nutrient solutions at an EC of 2.2-2.6 can be applied to Ginger crops. Though, switching to a fruiting or bloom formulation at a higher EC seems to assist with intensifying the flavor and aromatic profile of the rhizomes. Your pH levels are best maintained around 5.7 to 5.8 to maximize nutrient uptake.
Pest control for hydroponic Ginger
Look for signs of pests and diseases, such as the presence of insect pests, chewed plant leaves and foliar diseases. One diseased plant can swiftly infect all the other ones since they are close to each other. Remove any sick Ginger plants immediately. Because Ginger plants grown hydroponically don’t have to spend their energy trying to find food, they can spend more time growing. This helps them to be healthier and stronger as they can use some of that energy to fight off diseases. Because the leaves of the plants never get wet unless it rains, they’re much less likely to get leaf fungus, mildew, and mold. Even though hydroponic Ginger plants are good at fighting off diseases, they still have to fight pests. Even if it’s a hydroponic system, insects and caterpillars can nevertheless find a way into the garden. Pick off and dispose of any bugs you see.
Under optimal growing conditions, Ginger plants are relatively hassle-free crops and seem remarkably immune to common exotic plant problems such as root rot or dieback due to overwatering. They can suffer from common pest issues. With an indoor garden or greenhouse these typically contain fungus gnats during the propagation phase, and mites, thrips, and whiteflies on more mature plants, which can all damage and discolor the foliage rapidly.
Early identification and control of pests are recommended, and the large, dense canopy may provide a suitable environment for the use of integrated pest management (IPM) with introduced predator and parasite insect controls.
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