Whether you are enjoying sushi, curry, or any other delicious dish, a fresh ginger root is featured as a cooking ingredient worldwide and across most cultures. It has been claimed that ginger cures nausea, reduces muscle pain, treats indigestion, alleviates menstrual pain, and reduces cholesterol.
Vertical farming ginger is a match made in heaven, as the ginger roots (Ginger Rhizomes) grow very shallowly, and the plants only grow to a height of four feet. Ginger is very sensitive to its growing environment, and using a vertical farming system enables you to control the variables accurately.
Ginger is particularly suited to be grown in vertical farms and aquaponic systems. Typically grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions, the root vegetable must be propagated within a specific environmental boundary.
Vertical Farming Ginger: The Process
While there are some differences in the gestation cycle, vertical farming ginger is very similar to turmeric.
This article shows you the steps needed to plant the ginger rhizomes, the environment they grow well in, and the harvesting information.
One of the features of ginger is that it does not have a deep root system, making vertical farming ginger effective based on the normal vertical farming systems.
Vertical Farming Ginger: Planting
Follow these steps for vertical farming ginger using a hydroponic setup:
- Soak the ginger rhizomes in water for 12 hours
- Split up the ginger rhizomes (which technically is not a root, although similar) by slicing off the fingers
- To prevent root rot, allow the cut-off pieces to dry for 1- 2 days before planting
- If you are concerned about infection, treat the rhizomes with Trichoderma
- First, place the rhizome in compost, making sure each rhizome piece is 1 to 2 inches long with at least one bud
- Water the Rhizomes very well after planting
- Once the buds open up, move them to your vertical, hydroponic, or aquaponic system
- Plant ginger in the growing media by making a hole in the substrate and placing a rhizome
- Ensure the roots point down and fill the hole so the rhizome top is level with the clay surface
- When you transfer the plants to your vertical hydroponic setup, water the plants sparingly but deeply, keeping the soil moist but not soaking
Growing And Harvesting
The plant takes between one to two weeks to show the budding leaves. Following the steps listed above in the planting section, you have moved the new plants to your vertical farming system.
Feed the plants with fertilizer regularly. Use a diluted concentrate when the plants are very young and increase this to full strength as they become more mature.
After this, the rhizomes take about four months to begin growing and harvesting.
The plants grow to four feet, so please don’t worry that many of the roots appear above ground, as this is normal for ginger plants.
It is only fully grown after 8-10 months. The plant is ready to be entirely harvested when the leaves start yellowing and gradually drying.
As described by Rob Bob aquaponics, harvesting is a simple process of moving the substrate away and gently cutting off the amount of ginger you need. Cover the remaining part of the rhizome with loose soil to continue to grow.
- Shake off the substrate
- Wash the rhizomes with water and leave them to dry in the sun
If you want to produce ginger, follow the steps below:
- Soak the rhizomes in water for 12 hours
- Remove any foreign particles
- Rinse them for a few minutes
- Scrape the rhizome’s outer skin off. Use care to do this very shallowly without damaging the oil cells below the surface
- Wash them thoroughly and allow them to dry for a week in natural sunlight
- Get rid of any loose skin cells by rubbing the rhizomes together
The ginger rhizomes are ready for use.
You can check out this video for more information.
Is Vertical Farming Ginger Viable?
Apart from the apparent space benefits of vertical farming ginger, it allows you to control the environmental aspects.
Depending on the extent of your setup, the environmental conditions you can control are:
- Relative humidity
- The amount of water the plants are subject to
- The plant nutrients
- The PH content of the substrate
- Pest control
Achieving the optimum environmental conditions will increase yield by up to 500%.
If you plan on growing ginger in a colder climate, controlling the temperature is a critical consideration.
Vertical farming ginger is a perfect match because it needs a warm tropical climate with controlled temperatures. This is something you can do easily using vertical farming technology.
Can You Do Vertical Farming Ginger Hydroponically?
It is possible to grow ginger hydroponically.The best way to achieve this is to first propagate the rhizomes in compost pots and transfer them to the aquaponic system once the leaves show.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Ginger Hydroponically?
The budding leaves begin to show at 1 – 2 weeks.
The rhizomes can be harvested after four weeks; however, the plant is only fully grown after 8-10 months.
Best Conditions For Growing Ginger In A Vertical Farm
Ginger does best in a controlled environment with conditions similar to the parts of the world where it is widely farmed. Ginger is grown in sub-tropical parts of China, India, Nepal, and Thailand. As such, vertical farming ginger means mimicking these conditions.
Temperature Of The Ginger Crop
Ginger is a tropical plant that needs a hot temperate through tropical temperatures. The plant thrives in air temperatures above 350 C (950 F).
The water temperature should be 240-260 C (75.20-78.80 F).
Ginger cannot survive temperatures lower than 100C (500F).
Lower temperatures will cause the ginger plant to become dormant or even die.
Lighting The Plants
Ginger is a plant that grows naturally in South-East Asia and does well with lots of sun exposure. If you are using additional lights, aim for 18 hours per day.
Nutrients And Substrate
If you use soil as the substrate, make sure it is well composted, or you are using aged manure.
The following two work well if you choose a more specialized substrate in your vertical farm environment:
- Use fine coconut fiber with 20% perlite/ vermiculite
- Ginger does well in expanded clay
Make sure the substrate is sterile and of decent quality.
Ginger doesn’t do well in environments with high nitrate levels. Make sure you are not adding any unneeded chemicals.
Similarly, ginger doesn’t like lots of salt, and you should ensure that you are not trying to grow it in a system with a high level of salt.
- If you feed your other plants with mineral nutrient salts dissolved in water, avoid this practice with your ginger plants.
- Avoid watering the ginger plants with salt water if you live on the coast.
- Ginger plants do best with a neutral to slightly acidic PH. The optimal PH range of your nutrient solution is 5.5 – 6.5.
Vertical farming ginger is a great way of growing the plant outside of its traditional area. The fact that harvesting can begin after only four months makes it a satisfying project that quickly produces positive returns.
Temperatures need to be carefully controlled when vertical farming ginger, as does the need to replicate a tropical environment. It is vital that the PH of the substrate is correctly handled and that nutrient levels are maintained.