Let's see what ginger offers to your permaculture design, and how other parts of your design can look after needs of your ginger.
(This page assumes you are already familiar with the basics of growing ginger and with these basic permaculture design principles.)
Let's look at what ginger needs and what it offers. Then we can come up with ideas how ginger and the other elements in our permaculture design can work together to save us work.
As you may have read on the main page about growing ginger, I grow much of the ginger I eat in tubs. I do this for the sake of convenience. It makes harvesting very easy. Just tip over the tub.
I process all my ginger once a year. After that I always have it handy: cleaned, chopped and ready to use, in my freezer.
From a permaculture point of view this is not ideal. Why?
It's simple. I've been storing my ginger in the freezer, when I could have been storing it in the ground instead. Mind you, my electricity is 100% hydro power, so at least I don't contribute unnecessarily to global warming. Still, it just doesn't make sense to rely on an electrical appliance when there is a perfect natural solution.
It's also not safe. All it takes is an extended power failure and I'll have to get by without ginger for the rest of the year. Or, gasp, buy it!
For that reason I also planted ginger in half a dozen different locations amongst my fruit trees, just as described above. Some grow under pigeon pea and crotolaria (another legume) near my kaffir lime tree, the lemon grass is not far away, and there are several chilli bushes and Thai basil plants along the path from the kitchen.
I have two other clumps fairly close to the kitchen as well, because I like to put a piece of ginger in my fresh fruit juice. I don't want to have to walk too far to get it. That ginger is cohabiting with my rosella bushes, another thing I like to add to my juice.
Ginger is also handy to have nearby when feeling a bit off colour. You definitely don't want to walk too far then, do you?
But I will hang on to my tubs as well. It is just too handy to have at least some ginger in the freezer, already cleaned and chopped and ready to use, for days when I get home after dark for example.
And thanks to my readers I now know that I don't need to depend on an electrical appliance for that convenience!
"I must tell you that freezing is not a good way to store ginger. The very best way I find is to skin and cut up your ginger into small chunks (1- 1+1/2 inch) and bottle it in brandy. It keeps like fresh.
If your climate is hot keep it in the fridge."
-- reader Jan Stevenson from Cyprus
"A cheaper way to preserve ginger is in cheap cooking sherry which is cheaper than brandy. Also the sherry can be used in Chinese cookery. I have been using this method for preservation for years."
-- reader Joan smith from the UK
"After you peel your ginger, don't put it in the freezer. Put it in a jar and completely cover it with some wine or sherry. It will keep indefinitely.
Sometimes I use the liquid in a stir fry (it has the ginger flavour), then top up the contents in the jar to cover them. So now you have ginger to use as much or as little as you want.
It's also nice to give as a gift."
-- reader Mischa Vlismas from Australia
Do you have any permaculture ideas or solutions yourself? It doesn't have to be about ginger. Anything that works particularly well in your garden? I'd love to hear about it!