I'm always looking to push the envelope of what we can grow in your climate. I think I got fig growing down, so my latest adventure is fresh ginger. I love the flavor, and I love cooking with ginger root. Ginger also has many medical qualities such as aiding digestion, improving circulation, and helping combat arthritis.
This tropical Asian root loves heat and a long growing season, so you'd think it wouldn't grow well here. But with a little help, you can grow ginger in Connecticut! It's best to start with ginger transplants order through the mail or found locally. You can also purchase ginger roots to grow but they can take up to two months to sprout, so they'll need more time to mature than transplants.
Wait until the weather has consistently warmed to above 60 degrees and plant in containers filled with a mix of potting soil and compost. Ginger loves fertile soil. Place the container in a sunny, protected spot or even under a tall floating row cover to keep it warm during cool nights. Keep the plants well-watered and fertilized every few weeks.
One of my surprises was that ginger leaves have a subtle ginger flavor, too! I harvest a few leaves off the two-foot-tall plants as they grow, for cooking and making tea.
By September or October, you should have some ginger roots to harvest. Harvest before a frost. The roots won't have enough time to form the usual textured, brown skin, but will have a tender white and pink flesh that is delicious. I like to freeze some for winter use.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about cucamelon. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.