Q: What is the best way to cultivate ginger and turmeric in a home garden? Can we simply break off the little conical ends and plant them with the pointed ends up in loose soil? Do they need much watering and sun?
A: Edible ginger, Zingiber officinale, and turmeric, Curcuma longa, are close kin botanically. Their cultural requirements are the same: moderate to full sunshine, loamy soil, adequate moisture in summer. Both are susceptible to severe winter cold but usually come back from the roots after a mild winter. The easiest way to plant them is to buy fresh roots at the grocery and plant them in early May. Flavorful roots can be harvested in fall, around the same time their flowers appear.