growing ginseng, how to go about it

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tabitha, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    that is one thing we had planned and did not get to yet. What kind of location does it like and thrive in? Is it worth the trouble? We thought it would be a good cash crop down the years, maybe, with not much work in the interim. Maybe we are wrong?
     
  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In Wisconsin, which is the biggest ginseng producer as far I know, the ginseng market appears to be not so hot, and the growers are having lots of problems with disease, etc. The "industry" is very secretive, as the successful growers learned a lot by expensive trial and error, and don't want to give away their hard earned experience.

    Lots of info on the internet on growing ginseng to give you the basics, althought the nitty-gritty details may be harder to learn. Takes lots of work keeping it weeded, etc.
     

  3. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i would check into how it may or may not be regulated by your state. in pa, a permit is required not only to harvest from nature, but to grow it as well.

    unless you wish to be forced to sell it on a black market, if your state has regulations, you will need to comply to sell it openly.
     
  4. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    You need thick tree cover. I did some research, then I ordered organic seed on-line. I fenced off an area of thick forest, and raked an area clear of leaves and branches, etc. Then I planted them. Around here, if you harvest more than $2,000/year and you want to label them as 'organic' then you need the university to come out and inspect the area to ensure that you have cleared out all wild ginseng. It is only 'organic' if you have planted it yourself, from certified organic seed.
     
  5. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    First you want the light to be about 70 to 80 percent shade. Ferns and other low light woodland plants are good identifiers. Hardwoods such as maples, etc work best. Slope should be about 20 to 40 percent, easy enough for you to work on. A northeast type is perfect, but we grow on others as well. When you start if you buy a small quantity of seed and some 3 yr old plants, plant a 3 yr old plant and some seed around it -- 50 seeds each plot, then mark the location. Now you can check growth and germination rates and decide the best places to plant in the future. Merely rake off the ground cover when u plant, the more wild the roots are the better. Currently the roots have to be 10 yrs old to ship overseas due to new forest service rules. Also plan for security, we use cameras and dogs and fences. Lots of seed suppliers around, most are pretty good. Thats a quick overview, try your county extension office or forester. There will also be a ginseng coordinator at the state level who can often be of assistance. The wisconsin market for cultivated ginseng is in the toilet right now, but good quality woods grown organic brings 400 or more a pound if properly handled and dried. It will take you 5 yrs b4 a crop is ready. The longer you let it grow the more its worth a pound.
    Sorry a mistake -- as of june 6 the fish an wildlife service will permit 5 yr old root sales, but some states still are showing the 10 yr rule.
     
  6. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    Seeds need to be stratified. After collecting the fruit in autumn, dig a hole in a well-drained, shady area about 30cm deep and 1 metre wide. Line the sides and bottom with rocks or bricks. Line the bottom with 2cm sand, then 2cm of seeds, then another layer of sand. Repeat layers as required, ending with sand, and cover the whole with a sheet of plywood. Leave for up to 18 months, but at least 90 days, keeping them cold and moist. Plant seeds or roots in autumn or winter. Plant them about 5-10mm deep, and cover with leaf mulch about 2cm thick. Do not allow the seeds to dry out. Plants must be shaded at all times. Germination may take a year or more. Plant produces seed when the plant has grown 2 prongs (or leaves), at about 3-4 years. The plant will add a third prong when 5-9 years old. Grows best in cool, shaded hardwood forests. The plant lies dormant for some years and does not grow new tops every year. One-year-old plants have 3 leaflets, resembling a strawberry plant. In the second year, it usually has 5 leaflets, and in the following years it begins to branch out with 2, 3 or 4 prongs with 3-5 leaflets in each prong. Prefers a soil with pH 5.0-6.5.