The plants die off and come back every year without us caring for them at all. As with most ginger plants the roots are invasive, so in an effort to contain them I buried some fence pailings to try and stop the roots from taking over the whole garden. When most people see our little ginger plot they think it’s sweetcorn.
It’s only the tender new flower heads that are harvested. You can see one here...
I think you have to be Japanese to truly appreciate them. Izumi slices them up and uses them in asian style salads or as a garnish in noodley soups. This is what they look like when they’re harvested. She often gives her Japanese friends a handful when there’s more than she needs and they always appreciate this little taste from home (you can't buy it in the shops here).
There’s a lot we can learn from the various cultures when it comes to things they eat.
At the end of the season the crop has all died off again...
But I don't need to do anything. It'll just come back again all by itself next season.
On a visit to a food market in Kanazawa, Japan in September 2012 we came across a store selling Myoga in small bags for ¥150 each (which is about NZ$2.25/US$1.86).
These are not such a great photos, but you can probably see that the flower heads are quite plump – they’re quite a bit bigger than I’ve ever grown them. Perhaps if I start fertilising mine I can get them to grow a bit bigger. Maybe some Sulphate of Potash for better flowering and fruiting?
(Update: 3 April 2018)
Funny how you learn things about gardening... often it’s quite by accident. Let me explain.
I’ve been wondering for the last 6 years or more how to get my Myoga Ginger to grow bigger like the ones they sell in Japan. Well, I finally figured it out!
But now I feel a bit dumb because it’s actually REALLY simple. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Essentially, the answer was to ignore this plant even more than I normally would.
Since Izumi passed away I don’t have so many Japanese people visiting my garden and making use of whatever Ginger I might have. Therefore I’ve not been in any hurry to harvest it. I’ve just left them and they just continue getting bigger. I left this one about a month or more longer than normal to the point where the foliage is starting to die off as the plant goes into its dormant period. It’s the first time I’ve left it so late before harvesting.
I used to worry that the bulbs which get a little yellow flower growing out the end of them, if left, would grow and continue to blossom thereby rendering the bulb inedible. Well it seems I was wrong and while this bulb actually had a yellow flower on the end of it, I simply plucked it off and a big plump bulb of ginger remained.
Read more about my Myoga Plant here
See video showing how we harvest Myoga Ginger