From this experiment we learned:
Ginger prefers to be neglected.
In the beginning, keep your ginger just moist, not wet. Other gardeners have told me their ginger pieces rotted, so watch out for that.
We found our larger piece did better, our smaller ones did rot also. So in this case, bigger is better.
We also saw the difference between what we grew and what we bought.
Fresh, young ginger roots have barely any peel on them at all. The ones from the store have a much heavier coat. Even with what we grew, you could see the difference as the larger and most likely older pieces had more of a peel on them.
Because the ginger you pick yourself is younger, it is less woody or fibrous. Just don't let it grow too long and you are good.
We waited 11 months, which is a little more than what is recommended. Our ginger had to take moving to the outdoors in the spring, then back inside in the fall, so we cut it some slack.
Of course the taste difference is undeniable, as is the case with almost anything you grow yourself. In order to get that nice pink color from pickled ginger, you need young roots, so unless you have access to an Asian market, growing it yourself is the only way to get that.
We're trying another experiment, this one based on adding bone meal and blood meal to the soil, and occasionally watering with a little fish emulsion- to see if we can grow the 2014 ginger batch even better.
There will also be a comparison of store-bought to homegrown root starts, just to see if there is a difference and well honestly, because now we can.
Peel then thinly slice young ginger roots.
Salt and let stand for 20 minutes.
Rinse, drain, pat dry.
Dissolve 1/3 cup sugar in 1 cup rice wine vinegar by boiling.
Pour over ginger.
Better the longer it sits, at least 1 week suggested.