Zone-Pushing Tips for Growing Ginger and Turmeric in Cold Climates

Virginia writes about ancestral zone-pushing methods that are now being treated as revolutionary:

“I have used milk jugs and anything else with a lid to make a wall of heat-retaining water for over 40 years! I know people are just getting back to nature or homesteading and so a lot of these OLD ideas are being treated as new—it’s just funny to me.     

The water method has worked for me in the mountains of Tennessee during winter, in Oregon during snow, and now in 29 Palms, California (desert), where I just bought a house. . . .”

One of my favorite things about writing Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics was discovering the zone-pushing methods of the past. Smudge pots in Florida, for instance; or the large walls used to hold in heat so peaches could be grown inside of Paris back in the 1600s. In the book, I combine both “new” ideas with the wisdom of the past, then mix it all together with humor and some crazy ideas that only a truly mad gardener would try.

In this video, I harvest our little patch of turmeric and mention how easy it is to push the zone with both turmeric and ginger:

Don’t let the cold defeat you. If you want to grow something tropical but don’t have the climate, chances are you can pull it off with a little ingenuity.

Get Recipes for Turmeric and Ginger Teas Here: “5 Powerful Herbal Medicines You Can Make at Home”

Protected locations next to walls, large containers you can haul into your house, deep mulch—zone-pushing is possible! Experiment and learn. Turmeric is very worth growing for its incredible health benefits—and ginger? Of course you’d want to grow ginger. It’s awesome!


(This article was originally published on August 3, 2018. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, however we encourage our Community members to chime in to share their experiences and answer questions!)


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This post was written by David The Good


  • c_d_c_2_85 says:

    I’m curious where you got the $1.7 million value from? Or how I would find the price per pound? I find it online from $10-$15 a pound. Unless you were being sarcastic and I missed that.

  • Scott Sexton says:

    I’ve read your Push the Zone book. Really enjoyed it. I’ve got some ginger started right now and I hope to add turmeric. I’ve got a greenhouse, but it’s not heated. So I’ll be reviewing your information as the temperature drops.

  • peppypoblano says:

    I’ve seen smudge pots used in quite a few citrus groves when unexpected cold fronts came through. Anything questionable usually goes into a pot so I can drag it in during winter. This worked until we ran out of room in the house last year. Barely room to walk in some areas. I will have to check out the book for potential alternatives. Thanks for sharing.

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