GROW­ING YOUR OWN GALANGAL

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - IN MY GAR­DEN WORDS: ANGIE THOMAS Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates.

If you en­joy south­east Asian dishes such as beef ren­dang, laksa and Thai cur­ries then it’s likely you’ve eaten galangal (alpinia galanga). The part of the galangal plant that you eat (the rhi­zome) looks like gin­ger and has a fra­grant, spicy and pep­pery taste with hints of pine, cit­rus and gin­ger. Above ground, galangal looks very sim­i­lar to gin­ger, with clumps of up­right stems and long elon­gated leaves. Galangal can be grown in frost-free, warm tem­per­ate ar­eas but does best in the trop­ics and sub­trop­ics. To grow your own galangal, start in spring by plant­ing a rhi­zome (of­ten avail­able from Asian gro­cers or via mail or­der) about 10cm deep into soil that’s moist but well drained. It will do best in a pro­tected mi­cro­cli­mate, shel­tered from harsh sun. Keep the clump well-wa­tered while it es­tab­lishes and feed­ing reg­u­larly with a com­plete fer­tiliser will pro­mote healthy fo­liage growth and lots of rhi­zomes. If you can be pa­tient, al­low the galangal plant to grow undis­turbed for the first year and then har­vest­ing can be­gin in the sec­ond year. Care­fully feel around in the soil and cut away small, pink rhi­zomes as you need them, leav­ing the rest of the clump to con­tinue to grow. In ar­eas with mild win­ters, the galangal plant will be ever­green.

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