Ginger / Zingiber officinale Rosc belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is a herbaceous perennial spice. India is a leading producer of ginger in the world. Ginger is an important commercial crop grown for its aromatic rhizomes. The local names of ginger are adrak, inji, allam, shunti, ala, alle, adu, aada, etc.
Ginger is used as a spice and as a medicine. Ginger is available in many forms such as fresh ginger, dry ginger, ginger powder, ginger oil, etc. Ginger is mainly propagated by rhizomes. The stems are 30 – 90 cm in height, the leaves are dark green and 15 – 20 cm long, and the flowers are small and yellowish in color. It is grown in most of the Indian states but most popularly in Karnataka, Orissa, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and so on.
The popular varieties of ginger grown in India are Maran, Assam, Himachal, Kuruppampadi, Wynad local, Suprabha, Suruchi, Suravi, Himgiri, IISR Varada, Mahima, IISR Rejatha, IISR Sudarsana, Nadia, Karakal, Sleeva local, Narasapattam, Rio-de-Janeiro, China etc. Dry ginger, packaged in gunny bags are highly susceptible to infestation by insects like Lasioderma serricone (cigarette beetle) during storage. Fully dried rhizomes can be stored in airtight containers. Long-term storage for more than two years would result in deterioration of its aroma, flavor and pungency.
Since it is a root crop, it needs thorough washing before use. Ginger is cultivated in many states in India. Dry ginger has good demand abroad, especially in the Middle East markets. India is the largest exporter of dry ginger as well. Ginger is a tropical crop adapted for cultivation even in regions of subtropical climate such as the high ranges. This crop thrives best in well-drained friable loamy soils rich in humus. Being an exhaustive crop, it may not be desirable to grow ginger in the same field year after year. Therefore, it is essential to convert the whole farm as organic with ginger as one of the crops in rotation.
The crop cannot withstand water logging and hence soils with good drainage are recommended for its cultivation. In order to cultivate ginger organically, an isolation distance of 25 m wide is to be left all around from the conventional farm. The produce from this isolation belt cannot be treated as organic. Ginger can be cultivated organically as an intercrop or mixed crop provided all the other crops are grown following organic methods. It is desirable to include a leguminous crop in rotation with ginger. Ginger-banana-legume or ginger-vegetable-legume can be adopted.
Carefully preserved seed rhizomes free from pests and diseases, which are collected from organically cultivated farms, can be used for planting. However, to begin with, seed material from high yielding local varieties may be used in the absence of organically produced seed. Seed rhizomes should not be treated with any chemicals.
Image source – asiafarming.com
Image source – spicenurseries.in
Image source – spicenurseries.in
Process of cultivating Ginger
⦁ Climatic conditions –
Ginger grows well in warm and humid climates. It is a tropical crop and can be cultivated 1500 m above sea level. It can grow well in rainfed and irrigated conditions. Ginger requires moderate rainfall at the sowing time till the rhizomes sprout and heavy showers during the growing period and dry weather just before harvesting. The ideal temperature to grow ginger is 28 – 35 °C. High humidity is required throughout the crop growth.
The best time for planting ginger in the West Coast of India is during the first fortnight of May during the pre-monsoon showers. Under irrigated conditions, it can be planted well in advance during the middle of February or early March. Early planting with summer showers during February – March results in higher yield and reduces disease incidence.
⦁ Seed rate and Spacing –
Ginger is propagated through seed rhizomes. Carefully preserved seed rhizomes free from pests and diseases, which are collected from organically cultivated farms can be used for planting. However, to begin with, seed material from high yielding local varieties may be used in the absence of organically produced seed. Seed rhizomes should not be treated with any chemicals. The seed rhizomes are cut into small pieces of 2.5 – 5.0 cm length weighing 20 – 25 g each having one or two good buds. The seed rate varies from region to region and with the method of cultivation adopted.
In Kerala, the seed rate varies from 1500 – 1800 kg/ha. At higher altitudes, the seed rate may vary from 2000 – 2500 kg/ha. The seed rhizomes are treated with Mancozeb 0.3% (3 g/L of water) for 30 minutes, shade dried for 3 – 4 hours and planted at a spacing of 20 – 25 cm along the rows and 20 – 25 cm between the rows. The seed rhizome bits are placed in shallow pits prepared with a hand hoe and covered with well-decomposed farm yard manure and a thin layer of soil and leveled.
While preparing the land, minimum tillage operations may be adopted. Beds of 15 cm height, 1 m width and of convenient length may be prepared to give at least 50 cm spacing between beds. Solarisation of the beds is beneficial in checking the multiplication of pests and disease-causing organisms. The polythene sheets used for soil solarization should be kept away safely after the work is completed.
At the time of planting, apply 25 g powdered neem cake and mix well with the soil in each pit taken at a spacing of 20 – 25 cm within and between rows. Seed rhizomes may be put in shallow pits and mixed with well rotten cattle manure or compost mixed with Trichoderma.
⦁ Land preparation and Irrigation –
Test the soil before use and free from weeds that may exist. Ginger thrives best in well-drained soils like sandy loam, clay loam, red loam or lateritic loam. A friable loam with a pH of 6.0 – 6.5 rich in humus is ideal. The land is plowed 4 – 5 times to bring the soil to a fine tilth. Beds of about 1 m width, 30 cm height and of convenient length are prepared with an interspace of 50 cm in between beds. In the case of irrigated crop, ridges are formed 40 cm apart. In areas prone to rhizome rot disease and nematode infestations, solarization of beds for 40 days using transparent polythene sheets is recommended.
Though transplanting in ginger is not conventional, it is found profitable. A transplanting technique in ginger by using single bud sprouts (about 5 g) has been standardized to produce good quality planting material with reduced cost. The technique involves raising transplants from single sprout seed rhizomes in the pro-tray and planted in the field after a month. The advantages of this technology are the production of healthy planting materials and reduction in seed rhizome quantity. Select healthy ginger rhizomes for seed purpose and treat the selected rhizomes with mancozeb (0.3%) and quinalphos (0.075%) for 30 min and store in well-ventilated place. One month before planting, the seed rhizomes are cut into single buds with a small piece of rhizomes weighing 4-6 g.
Fill the pro-trays with nursery medium containing partially decomposed coir pith and vermicompost and plant the ginger bud sprouts in pro-trays. Provide partial shade to the pro-trays by keeping them in shade nets or under the shade of trees. Adopt need-based irrigation with rose can or by using suitable sprinklers. Seedlings will be ready within 30-40 days for transplanting. Manuring At the time of planting, well-decomposed cattle manure or compost @ 25-30 tons/ha has to be applied either by broadcasting over the beds prior to planting or applied in the pits at the time of planting. Application of neem cake @ 2 tons/ha at the time of planting helps in reducing the incidence of rhizome rot disease/nematode and increasing the yield.
Ginger requires heavy amounts of manure. Fertilizers are applied in split doses. A full dose of P is applied as basal at the time of planting and equal split doses of N and K as top dressing at 45, 90 and 120 DAP. Ginger can be intercropped with banana, pigeon-pea, tree castor and cluster bean. It can be grown as a mixed crop with coconut or coffee. The irrigated crop is watered immediately after sowing. The beds of the rainfed crop are covered with leaf much. The shoots emerge in 10 – 20 days. Proper drainage channels must be provided in the rows to remove excess water as ginger is intolerant to stagnant water. Irrigation is done at 5 – 10 days intervals. Mulching may be done thrice in ginger, once immediately after planting @ 4 – 5 tons /acre and repeated @ 2 tons/acre at the 40th and 90th day.
⦁ Weed Management and Pest Control –
Mulching, hoeing, intercropping, etc. are done to deter weeds. Alternately cow dung slurry or liquid manure may be poured on the bed after each mulching to enhance microbial activity and nutrient availability.
Shoot borers are controlled by using Lantana camara and Vitex negundo leaves as mulch. The shoot borer appears during July – October period. Spot out the shoots infested by the borer. Cut open the shoot and pick out the caterpillar and destroy. Spray neem oil (O.5%) at fortnightly intervals if found necessary.
Soft rot or rhizome rot caused by Pythium aphanidermatum is a major disease of ginger. While selecting the area for ginger cultivation care should be taken to see that the area is well drained as water stagnation pre-disposes the plants to infection. Hence provide adequate drainage. Select seed rhizomes from disease-free areas since this disease is also seed borne. Solarisation of soil done at the time of bed preparation can reduce the fungus inoculums as mentioned above. However, if the disease is noticed, the affected clumps are to be removed carefully along with the soil surrounding the rhizome to reduce the spread. Trichoderma may be applied at the time of planting and subsequently if necessary. Restricted use of Bordeaux mixture (1 %) in disease-prone areas may be made to control it.
The bacterial wilt caused by Pseudomonas solanacearum can be managed by treating the seed rhizomes with streptocycline (200 ppm) for 30 minutes and shade drying before planting. In case the disease is noticed in the field, a uniform drenching of all the beds with Bordeaux mixture (1 %) may be made.
Regular field surveillance and adoption of phytosanitary measures are necessary for pest management.
Light traps will be useful in attracting and collecting the adult moths.
Leafroller can be controlled by spraying carbaryl 0.1%
Bacterial wilt can be controlled by treating the seeds with 200 ppm streptocycline for 30 minutes
⦁ Harvesting –
Ginger attains full maturity in about 210 – 240 days after planting. Irrigation is stopped one month before harvesting. The crop is ready to harvest in about eight to ten months depending upon the maturity of the variety. When fully mature leaves turn yellow and start drying up gradually, the crop can be harvested. Clumps are lifted carefully with a spade or digging fork and rhizomes are separated from dried leaves, roots and adhering soil. The average yield of fresh ginger/ha varies upon the cultivar. Normal yield is 15 – 25 tons. For large scale cultivations, ginger can be harvested using tractors or power tillers. The dry leaves, roots, and soil adhering to the rhizomes are manually separated.
Late harvest is also practiced. For making vegetable ginger, harvesting is done from the 6th month onwards. The rhizomes are thoroughly washed in water twice or thrice after harvest and sun-dried for a day.
For preparing dry ginger, the produce is kept soaked in water overnight. Rhizomes are then rubbed well to clean them. After cleaning, rhizomes are removed from the water and the outer skin is removed with a bamboo splinter or wooden knife having pointed ends. Iron knife is not recommended, as color will be faded. In order to get rid of the last bit of the skin or dirt, the dry rhizomes are rubbed together. The peeled rhizomes are washed and dried in the sun uniformly for one week. Rhizomes are to be dried to a moisture level of 11 % and they are stored properly to avoid infestation by storage pests.
Ginger undergoes a lot of stages after harvesting as seen above, such as processing, peeling, drying, polishing, cleaning and grading. Each method is done for a specific purpose. For example, drying ginger is done to achieve dry ginger variety where the moisture is removed and it is further used to powder and use as ginger powder. Storage of dry ginger for longer periods is not desirable. The yield of dry ginger is 16 – 25 % of the fresh ginger depending upon the variety and location where the crop is grown. Polishing is done to remove the dry skin and wrinkles on the surface. Bleached ginger is produced by dipping scrapped fresh ginger in slurry of slaked lime followed by sun drying. This is done to further protect it from insects or pests during storage or shipping.
⦁ Benefits of Ginger –
⦁ Ginger is a healthy and nutritious spice
⦁ It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that are good for the body and brain
⦁ Ginger contains Gingerol, a powerful substance with medicinal properties
⦁ Ginger is used to treat nausea and morning sickness
⦁ Ginger helps reduce muscle pain and soreness
⦁ The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help treat Osteoarthritis
⦁ Ginger helps lower blood sugar drastically and improves heart health by reducing the incidence of heart diseases
⦁ It is also helpful in treating chronic indigestion
⦁ Ginger powder is useful in easing menstrual pains significantly
⦁ It also helps reduce cholesterol levels in people suffering from bad cholesterol
⦁ Ginger extract contains a substance that helps prevent cancer
⦁ It improves brain function and protects against Alzheimer’s disease
⦁ Ginger contains an active ingredient that helps fight infections. Hence it is known for its antibacterial properties
⦁ Ginger juice is excellent for digestion and helps fight common colds and congestion if taken along with honey
⦁ It helps control high blood pressure and hence excellent for people suffering from high BP
⦁ It removes bad breath and is a great cure for acne
⦁ It promotes hair growth
⦁ Nutritional value of Ginger –
As per wikipedia
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.8 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.2 g 1%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 13 mg 0%
Potassium 415 mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 18 g 6%
Dietary fiber 2 g 8%
Sugar 1.7 g
Protein 1.8 g 3%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 1% Iron 3%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 10%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 10%