Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ginger Propagation

Picture 3. The ginger rhizome with white buds, covered with milk bag. She is then put under lights to photosynthesize for leaf and root formation.

Picture 2. A ginger rhizome showing little white buds, breaking to become first set of leaves. Note: there is not root formation yet.
(This ginger was inside the lunchbox covered from Jan 10, 2012 to February 1, 2012)

Picture 1. A lunchbox of Ginger Rhizome: started in Jan 10, 2012

Propagating Ginger officinale Indoors: (No, it is not easy!)

This is my 2nd attempt at ginger propagation, the first one turns out into a mush in one week. How did I do that?

1. I cut a small chunk of grocery store ginger,
2. prepare a sterile soil mix, and
3. put it in a put of well draining soil medium.
4. Pot has holes in the bottom for drainage.
5. put the small ginger in the middle and I covered the ginger with soil. Mist the ginger to moisten the soil.
6. Covered it will plastic for humidity, put it in the window sill.

Okay, and the result was MUSH, Stinky ginger.

So, I said, enough about ginger, I will wait for a warm sunny day and toss a ginger in the garden just like last year.
Everything I did was exactly what you can find online, including the sterile soil.

So, back to basics, I went back to my bookshelf and there she is waiting for me to read the textbook (1) : Asexual propagation of rhizomatous plants - (cloning your plant). While not specific to ginger, propagation of rhizome indoors is a two step process, as oppose to tossing a ginger in between your flower beds outdoors and saying good luck - and yes, it did work last gardening season 2011. My ginger just grow in between Petunia and marigold patch.
However, indoors is a different one because a specific humidity is needed to initiate axilliary bud formation - that bud I am referring to is that small bump that will soon become the growing point of your ginger.

So, here is what i did for the 2nd time, and it seemed to show me positive result.

1. Chunk of ginger from the store, about 2 inches in length.
2. Soil - i use potting mix this time, who cares? I ran out of sterile ones.
3. The pot is a 3 inch X 6 inch lunch box with a lid, that seal it tight.
4. Light - this time, I put it inside the cupboard, means zero light.

STEP 1 of the propagation process:

1. I poured soil on the lunch box and moistened it. Don't make a dough, just a little sprinkle of water.
2. I put the chunk of ginger on top of the soil.
3. I sealed the lunchbox, and put it in the cupboard. [SEE Picture 1 (above)]
Put the date: Jan 10, 2012. Each weekend, I opened the lunchbox to let the rhizome breath.
4. On Feb 1, 2012 - I opened the lunch box and found the small white buds. There are no roots yet, but these buds need photosynthesis to form leaves.
5. I remove the cover and let it breath.

STEP 2 of the propagation process:

from 5 of Step 1

1. I the cut a plastic milk bag, and punch some holes in it.
2. I covered the lunch box with the plastic milk bag, but lose enough that it can breath.
3. I bring the lunch box down, and put under light, so the white buds can form leaves.
4. Once leaf formation starts, it will also start root formation and after that, I can transfer the ginger rhizome to a bigger pot for my enjoyment as a houseplant.

Rhizomes are tricky, because if there is no air circulation, it can easily turn into mush. My reason for hiding the sealed lunch box was to keep high humidity, risking air circulation. I reasoned that if humidity is high enough, mush (formed by bacteria) cannot form in such situation. So far this one has work in my favor. (see picture 2 and picture 3)

for now...this is all folks, I will update soon, once I see leaves and roots.


(1) Sterns: Introductory Plant Biology 12th edition (Biddack, Jansky) Paid about $150 for this textbook if you want to know.

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