Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ginseng Wild-Harvesters are Growing their Own 'Sang, Too!

David Coates studying how to grow ginseng and other botanicals. Photo taken by Charity Hope Coates.
Ginseng harvest season opens in a few days and wild-harvesters are excited about getting out into the woods to harvest this valuable native herb. But the popularity of ginseng could soon lead to its demise and a possible ban to wild-harvesting if we don't make greater efforts to protect this plant. This means only harvesting mature plants that have had a chance to produce seeds, carefully planting the seeds from the plants you harvest, and growing more ginseng on our wooded lands.

One long-time harvester of wild-ginseng who has embraced growing his own ginseng is David Coates. David LIVES for ginseng. His business is Coates and Taylor's Roots and Herbs in Bluefield, WV. He buys ginseng and other roots from wild-harvesters and growers. He fills Facebook with posts about hunting ginseng, reminding readers to stay legal and only harvest mature roots in season. He also sells ginseng seeds and encourages his harvesters to grow some of their own.

I love this photo of David reading our book. Of course it is great free advertising for our book, but it supports what I always tell potential growers. If you want to be successful growing these plants, you need to learn everything you can about how to do it. Read our book, attend workshops and presentations by people who are actually doing it (beware "the expert" who never gets their hands dirty), and visit other growers (most are willing to share, especially if you offer to help or pay a consultation fee).

If you want to grow your own ginseng, now is an excellent time to get started. I am offering two specials right now :
  • One special is 2 oz of high quality ginseng seed from Green Gold Enterprises with a copy of our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals signed by Scott Persons.  Click on the appropriate Add to Cart button on the right or read more about the special HERE.
  • The other special is 25 one-year-old ginseng rootlets from High Valley Ginseng with a copy of our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals signed by me. Click on the appropirate Add to Cart button on the right or read more about the special HEREUPDATE ON 9/1/2015: JOHNNY IS SOLD OUT OF ONE YEAR OLD ROOTLETS. I  MODIFIED THE OFFER TO INCLUDE A SMALLER NUMBER OF THREE YEAR OLD ROOTLETS HERE.

 A wild-simulated ginseng root from Avery County, NC.
Here is a short excerpt from our book about wild-simulated planting as written by Scott Persons:
"The wild-simulated approach takes the longest time from planting to harvest, but it is by far the simplest method, the least expensive and time consuming, the most compatible with the natural ecology of your land, and it can be implemented on steep hillsides where nothing else is practical. Seeds are planted thinly with minimal disturbance to the forest floor and left to grow naturally so that extremely desirable roots, indistinguishable from truly wild roots, are harvested. In effect, the grower develops a naturalized population of wild ginseng within his woodlot. Wild-simulated growing requires only a modest investment in seed and labor, and the bulk of the labor is in the digging, which is not done until profit is nearly assured. It can be profitable on either a small or large scale. One person can plant and maintain many acres without mechanized equipment. In my opinion, it is the method of choice, if you have the right spot to do it, especially if that spot encompasses multiple acres. (If your woodlot is not ideally suited for ginseng, there is an alternative, more labor-intensive variation-see The Hankins Method at the end of this chapter)."

I would be remiss, however, if I did not point out that theft is going to be your major production problem. Do not take this lightly. Security should be a major component of your ginseng growing plan.

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