Last spring, a lovely man that Adam was doing some farm contracting work for gave us a few ginger roots to plant. Exciting! I spoke to a friend of Mum and Dad's, David, who successfully grew it every year and he convinced me to try it in pots.
I watched the green shoots shoot and the leaves unfurl. I dreamt of delicious fresh ginger in winter. On David's advice I watched until the leaves really started to die off. I'd admired other people's ginger plants including Fraser's, and sneakily thought how much bigger my plants were. Must be my general gardening awesomeness, obviously, that meant my ginger grew much thicker, much taller and with bigger leaves.
This week I confidently upended a pot and harvested my ginger root. Except it didn't look entirely like ginger root. It wasn't a clearly seperate tuber (or rhizome), it grew up into the stem and didn't easily break off. It didn't smell like ginger. The guy on youtube said it'll hit you in the face, fresh gingery ginger. I nibbled some. Didn't taste like ginger. I paused for a moment and wondered if it was something poisonous.
He said to slice a bit, it'll smell like ginger. Didn't. I took a bit round to his house and he poked it and said, doesn't smell like ginger because it's galangal.
Oh of COURSE. Galangal. Phooey. Because I use a LOT of galangal in my cooking and LUCKY because I planted TWO pots of galangal. Dammit.
Am now ordering ginger from a reliable seed catalogue. And so hopefully next winter I'll be sipping chai with freshly grated ginger because I'm telling you the galangal really doesn't cut it. Maybe it'll behave itself in a good curry paste.