Sunday, November 22, 2015

Growing Wild-Simulated Ginseng: Preparing the Planting Site

I am so pleased at how many people are buying ginseng seed this year to start their own wild-simulated ginseng patches. That is wonderful news! They are creating their own income producing areas and helping to conserve the wild populations.

But so many of these people don't know how to grow wild-simulated ginseng. Today's short lesson will be on preparing the site. I am going to assume that you have already selected the perfect site for your ginseng. You have your high-quality, stratified seed on hand, and you are ready to plant. Reading from Scott Person's section on Wild-Simulated Planting in our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals:

"Before you plant, you need to rake aside the leaf litter, and it is difficult to rake efficiently where there are dead limbs and rocks lying around or lots of small saplings, vines, and shrubs growing. Even if you cast seeds on top of the leaf litter and then till them into the top inch or two of ground-an approach that some growers swear by-you'll need to clean and clear to make space for the tiller to operate."

Scott goes on to describe exactly how to do this, what to remove and what is better left behind, and how to prevent erosion on slopes.
Scott also describes how to mark off your planting area so you have some control over planting density:

"I like to plant 40' wide sections (or only 20' wide, if 40' isn't practical), beginning at the lowest part of the planting site and moving directly up the face of the slope to the top of the site. Then I go back to the bottom and plant an adjacent and parallel section and so on, until the entire area is sown."

He goes on to describe exactly how to do this and the pros and cons of using small wooden stakes, surveyor's flags or heavy-duty surveyor's stakes.
The next step is raking off the leaf litter:

"Take a large rugged leaf rake, measure five feet from the tip of the tines to a spot on the handle, and make a highly visible permanent mark there. Then, start at the bottom of one of your measured sections, face directly uphill, and, using the mark on your rake handle as a guide, rake the first five feet of leaf litter down and off the soil across the entire width of the section."

Scott goes on to describe how to do this up the entire hill and signs of some pesky critters to look for.
This is what your planting area should look like prior to sowing your seed and spreading your gypsum. I'll cover that in a future post.

To get all the details about planting and growing wild-simulated ginseng, order our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. Details about the book can be found on the book tab HERE. Ordering an author signed copy is easy. Just use your credit card and the appropriate Paypal button to the right (if you do not see any Paypal buttons, you are probably on your smartphone or tablet. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "View web version". The Paypal buttons will magically appear).

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