Ginseng

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Pony, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been looking into encouraging ginseng to grow in our woodlot. Course, I couldn't identify if it jumped up and bit me in the nose, but... <G>

    ANYway, it looks like there is a market for it, but I wonder if anyone here has tried it, and what the outcome of your efforts is/was.

    Thanks!

    Pony!
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I've never grown ginseng, but I know it grows wild where I am (Oklahoma Ozarks) and into Arkansas --- and apparently, some people in Arkansas have begun cultivating it (the variety which grows there, at least).

    If you get no responses here, you might check into some of the Arkansas or Ozarks homesteader forums and groups --- I know there are some on Yahoo --- surely someone on one of those forums or groups either does it or knows someone who does.
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Out of curiosity, I googled ginseng and arkansas, and came up with some interesting hits, including this page:

    http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/ginsgold.html

    Which leads me to make another suggestion --- check into articles and forums about sustainable agriculture. Because Illinois is north of here --- and colder --- I'm going to guess you'll have to make some alterations in growing. However, it can be done. The article I linked to has very basic info which correlates with what I've heard before, btw.

    This link is pretty good, too.

    Wow, now I want to grow ginseng!! :haha:
     
  4. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey! Thanks so much for locating those links!

    All I've found out so far is that ginseng grows from zone 2 to 7 or so, and that there is concern about over-harvesting. Also, there can be too many middle-men to get what your ginseng is truly worth (someone suggested a co-op arrangement).

    Well, Countrygrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl, I am officially giving you more R's in your name. :)

    Thanks again for your helpfulness. If you're really interested in this, I'll keep you posted on anything else I find. :)

    Pony!
     
  5. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    And i thank you kindly for those r's! :haha:

    Please do keep us updated on what you're doing with it. I've got so many gardening projects going right now that I can't take on another one. But given I live in the natural habitat of wild ginseng, I'd love to try cultivating it myself! :)
     
  6. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I'de have to take a book with pictures along to identify ginseng. I can identify quite a few things growing in the bush, but Like you, I wouldn't be readily able to identify a ginseng plant. It supposedly grows native up here too.

    I know some people who operated a small sawmill. They did other things growing hay and cattle, etc. Because they had a lot of pieces of cedar lumber left over, they used them to make slats and cover a 1/4 acre prepared area to plant ginseng starter roots. The overhead slats were about 10' above ground, and it simulates the filtered light the plants need to grow. Apparently ginseng won't tolerate direct sunlight or complete drying while growing. The challenge also to have the correct soil, and it takes something like 7 years to get a harvest.
    The project didn't work out with these folks. One year a severe wind storm took out the overhead slats. I think the plants were coming along for about 3 years before that and things stalled. They never got a harvest and gave up on the idea. Good money in it, if you can grow it, I guess.
     
  7. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, we have a couple years left in the 5 (6.7...) year plan to move to the homestead, and I am always researching ways to make money once we get there. Part of me is hoping that there is already some ginseng growing on our wooded bluff, which is a good 15 acres big. Seems like conditions (from what I've read so far) are good for growing it.

    Nothing ventured, of course, etc. Better I should give it a shot than wonder "what if?" for the rest of my life. It won't be the first windmill I've taken a tilt at. ;)

    Pony!
     
  8. Ovibos

    Ovibos Member

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    Go ahead and try growing it, there is no reason not to try. Don't put any, and I mean any money into it until you have fully researched and do a test year. Scrounge materials and make a small test garden. The chances of getting American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L) to grow in a cultivated manner is highly unlikely. Also the high prices you see for American Ginseng are for large WILD roots. Although there are two, that I have heard of, companies cultivating it in the U.S. it is a very hard plant to grow. You must build the shade canopy, create a rich, loam type soil, monitor the soil closely and keep moisture under close scrutiny aswell. As far as climate the largest American grower is in Wisconsin.
    There are, as a side note, many plants confused and improperly used as American Ginseng. There is only ONE type of American ginseng. The real plant is extremely rare and not commonly found in accessible areas. Hence the high prices for wild roots, they also have to grow atleast 5 years to have any real size and worth.
     
  9. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Now, I am having a bit of a brainstorm thinking a bit about plants in similar growing conditions of filtered light and the 'right' soil. For example, morel fungus fruit in spring in perhaps similar conditions. Look in those places during the summer and maybe the ginseng will be found? I would also wonder if Lady Slippers grow nearby??? This is totaly specualation, mind you. It's how a distorted 'arm chair botonists' thinks when out in the field. :haha: Often that is one way to find a co-existing companion type plant to find another in nature. Just a thought.
     
  10. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Whew! Glad to know I'm not the only one! :haha:
     
  11. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And now I'm thinking about a fen in the back of an old, old cemetary near here, where I saw my very first lady slipper orchid... And now I'M wondering if I can find something over there....

    So, that makes three of us. :D