This spring, I'm planning on planting some ginger for the first time.
I live in an area where the winters get cold enough, ginger can't stay in the ground.
Instead, I hope to harvest all of it, process and preserve most, but save some for replanting the following year. I don't want to re-pot them and bring them indoors, if I can avoid it.
Is it possible to preserve ginger over the winter for re-planting? How should I go about drying it out? I have a dehydrator - could I gently dehydrate it for 12 hours, removing some of the moisture, and then just wrap them in newspaper and store in the dark?
Ginger and its relatives go dormant during the dry season in their native habitat. Away from the tropics, all we need to do is replicate these conditions by keeping the rhizomes cool, barely dry, and somewhere air can circulate a bit. What we don't want is for them to dessicate, because then they will die, or for them to wake up and start growing at the wrong time.
What I do with ginger and turmeric is to put the rhizomes for the next season's planting in a feed sack or bucket full of clean wood shavings under one of the benches in the glasshouse. I moisten the shavings just a little at the beginning and check them about once a month, stirring them around to keep things aerated. I leave the galangal in its pots and just quit watering it over winter, since it's so big that it would be a pain to treat in the same way.
Wrapping in newspaper wouldn't be a bad plan either, but you might need to moisten it just a little bit for long-term storage. Think root cellar conditions.
I do the same as Phil, mostly for turmeric but recently with ginger. I wrap it with newspaper and put it in a terra cotta flowerpot in a cabinet out on my porch (where I also have sweet potatoes, blue potatoes, and whatever else needs to sit over winter).
It gets rather cold here in Missouri, zone 6A - I can't store things outdoors, or it'll get way below freezing and they'd just die (down to 10° during winter nights, sometimes as low as 4°). I do have a relatively warm (~55°) and dry pantry I can store them in.
Looks like my growing window will basically be about 5-6 months, but probably 6-7 if I kinda "greenhouse" the outdoor planter box. The ideal growing season for ginger is 8-9 months. Do you think harvesting them two months early - at 7 months - would still result in decent sized ginger roots?
Your pantry is probably ideal. Check on them every now and then to make sure that the rhizomes are firm (not drying out too much) or moldy (too damp).
Most years my ginger and turmeric don't start growing until December (beginning of summer) and they're done by June. This year they are getting an even later start and just now poking out of their pots. I get decent harvests with 5-6 months of active growth from each.
When I still had a fridge, I'd often find months old nubs of ginger in the butter compartment in the door of the fridge. I usually stuck them in the soil with one of the houseplants. More often than not they'd grow for a while, until the next cycle of drought and abuse I tend to submit my plants to. I got the feeling ginger wasn't too picky about storage.
I do cook with it as much as I possibly can (I make a lot of Indian and Chinese food, and anything that has ginger can usually get some fresh turmeric as well), but to be honest I generally end up having a lot wither before I can use it. This year when I get a harvest I plan to follow pickle it, an excellent idea from someone here on the forum. It`s good for you and grows here like gangbusters, so why not, right?
(I grate it up fresh, no powdering and drying, it`s too humid here to dry anything.)
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