Nutrition is an important aspect in promoting good health and productivity of people in a society. Women have a special role to play in food and nutritional security of both their households and communities due to gender roles in making decisions and preparing meals for their families. There are different approaches of enhancing nutrition at the household and community one of which is adoption of simple nutritive sensitive farming practices. One such practice is practicing mixed farming and crop rotation with high value and nutritive crops such as spices and indigenous vegetables.
Women, Youth and other Vulnerable/Marginalized Groups (such as the differently abled persons, PLHIV and extremely poor persons) in the society can adopt agricultural practices that not only enhance nutrition and promote their health, but can also generate some income. One such spice that have high value which these groups can grow is ginger spice which have numerous health benefits particularly prevention and reduction of sufferings that are related to lifestyle diseases which are currently very prevalent in our society. People have become aware of the nutritive and medicinal values of ginger. However, most of the farmers and consumers are not aware of how to grow these spices in their farms and kitchen gardens.
This article will elaborate how to grow ginger spice.
- Prerequisite conditions for ginger farming
Weather – Ginger grows in dry places where there is moderate sunlight and rain/water
It is worth noting that ginger does not grow well in direct, sunlight and grows well in sheltered/shady areas. This is an opportunity for farmers to intercrop the plant with other crops such as pigeon pea, bananas, sunflower which can provide some shade to the crop. Plant 2-3 weeks before rainy season to utilize rain.
Soil- It grows well in well-drained soils particularly loam, acidic (PH 5.5 to 6.5) soil
Prepare the soil to be loose, void of weeds and add organic manure so that it is rich in nutrients
Mulching is important to add nutrients, preserve water and control weeds; Ginger can be successfully grown in containers, pots or sacks in a kitchen garden.
- Choosing and preparing the rhizomes for propagation
– Take a mature ginger root which have a thick skin and put them in a cool dry place for them to shoot small buds/eyes
– Cut the roots into small pieces that are 1-3 inches which are 4-6g weight with each part having at least one eye/buds
– Put these pieces aside for about one week for the cut surface to recover/become relatively hard
– Prepare a bed which is bed 15 cm high and 1-meter width and make rows that are about 20cm apart
– Make shallow pits in the rows and place the ginger root cuttings in the pits 6-8 inches from each other and cover them well with soil
– Cover them with mulch and watering them until they germinate
– Constant watering is needed until new roots sprout but be careful to avoid water logging and weed appropriately
– Add fertilizer-NPK at 6-8 weeks after germination
– Controls pests appropriately; the major pests include nematodes, slugs/snails and mites while diseases include leafspot and rust
Nb. Crop rotation is an important aspect in controlling pests of this crop which should be coupled with other IPM practices and use of registered chemicals should be undertaken.
– The crop matures after 6-10 months after sowing depending on the stage at which one wants to harvest his roots.
Harvesting can be done when the leaves start turning yellowish
-Ginger can be used in fresh or dried form.
-For drying; the roots are properly cleaned and cut into small pieces that are dried in the sun
-Store the dried pieces as granules or smash them into powder which can be stored in tin or glass containers.
-You can also prepare ginger-garlic paste by blending ginger and garlic into a paste that will spice up your meals. The paste is preserved by putting in a glass container, pouring some oil is on top to cover it and storing in a tightly covered container. You can also refrigerate it to stay longer