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Growing local

Just a few photos of the tropical root vegetables (mainly from the ginger family) that I'm growing to show that I don't just grow weeds.... Actually I have had some success with this kind of crop two years running so I may have found a good spot to grow them. These plants are great as they hardly need any maintenance, save you money (especially the rhizome spices) and give your garden a nice tropical feel. Best of all they are easily grown in polystyrene boxes.

Thai Ginger or Greater Galangal (Alpinia galanga). I've found this one to be the easiest ginger to grow. It has a slightly sweet taste but the rhizomes are a lot more fibrous and smaller than common ginger.

Lesser Galangal (Alpinia officinarum). First time I've grown this - thanks to a kind person (Michael H?) bringing it to a GV. Haven't tasted it yet but this one isn't the culinary one and is meant to have medicinal benefits.

Tumeric (Curcuma longa) grown from a market purchase. Despite the leaf burn these plants are really vigorous. Thought it was caused by some type of mineral deficiency and application of volcanic rock dust and seaweed solution appears to have resolved the problem with the new growth. Lots of health benefits and essential for a curry as a ground spice addition.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Not going as well as last year with a similar leaf burn to the Tumeric. Despite an identical application of micro-nutrients the leaves still aren't unrolling as well as they should. Anyone got any ideas why this is happening? Despite this the rhizomes are peeking through the mulch and look good.

West Indian Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea). Obtained from Lissa and I believe has passed to many BLF members from the single original. This plant is very vigorous despite the competition from Betel and Suriname Spinach. In fact, like mint the container is no barrier for its growth -

I haven't included other root crops like sweet potato and canna as they always seem to be easy to grow. What are the growing experiences you are having this season with these kind of plants?

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Comment by Rob Collings on March 15, 2016 at 23:50

Roger, now there's some turmeric that can stand on it's own two feet! Nice ginger too.

Comment by Rob Collings on March 15, 2016 at 23:48

Thats lots of growth for small container growing Phil, nicely done mate.

Comment by Phil on March 15, 2016 at 18:10

I suspect you are right Roger about crop rotation. I reused the soil (after refreshing it) for the ginger and galangal. I've found that the greater galangal is a tougher plant generally but I really should have grown sweet potato instead and used new soil for the gingers. Unfortunately I had run out of compost.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 15, 2016 at 9:05

Love yer 'Elvis Turmeric' Roger!

Comment by Roger Clark on March 15, 2016 at 8:23

I find that Turmeric and Ginger are the easiest plants to grow in a summer garden. They don't need any looking after, just a watering now and again. I grow mine in baths, or similar containers and have no trouble at all with them. I suspect that polystyrene containers are a bit shallow to keep the moisture content right. I would try making a double decker for these. In baths both thrive and the harvest is always good. I do still practice crop rotation though as any crop grown over and over in the same soil will (I believe), develop problems. I heard that Qld Ginger at Buderim have been having problems with disease. I grate both Ginger and Turmeric, freeze it in ice cube containers and use it year round with my coffee in the morning inside a "tea infuser type ball container". Both are supposed to be anti inflammatory as well as giving other health benefits. 

Comment by Phil on March 14, 2016 at 17:30

Lissa, the above photo of the greater variety doesn't show how tall these plants are - much taller than the lesser one with leaves also much smaller. The lesser variety looks more like tumeric, well for the types I'm growing so I suspect you do have this plant.

Comment by Christa on March 14, 2016 at 7:54

My knowledge, of ginger type edible plants, is limited but I thought this one below was the Lesser Galangal, it gets a pretty little pink/white flower that it near the base of the plant.

Product Description   (from all Rare Herbs site)

Chinese Keys, Boesenbergia rotunda, is also known as Kra Chaai and Lesser Galangal. The roots, young leaves and shoots eaten throughout Asia in salads.. Roots also used in cooking and sometimes pickled. Medicinal use of the root in China to treat colic and diarrhoea. Chinese Keys is native to Indonesia and prefers a moist, well drained soil in a protected, shady position. Frost tolerant but drought tender. A perennial, deciduous, plant growing to 0.6m x 0.4m. Spikes of pink or white flowers.

Comment by Lissa on March 14, 2016 at 5:44

Nice blog :) But now I am really confused about my Thai Ginger. It is the shortest/smallest out of all my ginger type plants - I thought it was the Lesser Galangal for that reason. You call it Greater Galangal (Alpinia galanga) above.

Given to me by Michael H. I can't get any of it out of it's pot.

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