After almost 50 years of hunting, finding, harvesting(digging) and selling ginseng, I have concluded I should spend the remaining time I have trying to replenish the ginseng population, as I fear it is dwindling.
Over the past 5 or 6 years I have gone out, found and fostered ( if you will) a few plants. If I am lucky enough to find a few, I will discreetly go back several times and check on them via a different route each time to check on their progress.
If the seeds mature and ripen I will intervene with nature and pull the seeds and plant them right there by raking leaves back and poking a hole about 1 to 2 inches deep and put dirt and leaves back over them.
I used to break the tops off to keep it from being found and dug but have learned this is not a good idea as the top is needed for the root to grow. I just didn’t know any better. Marcus Stidham, the ginseng guru, says it’s best to pull the top down and cover it with leaves so it cannot be seen and it will mature as it should. I firmly believe he is correct and now I practice this. I have planted 3.5 pounds of purchased seeds on property near my home.
I always buy stratified seeds that have been disinfected, as an extra precaution I soak them in hydrogen peroxide myself. To do this, I put 2 tablespoons peroxide in 1 gallon of water, stir it around a bit then add the seeds. Let them soak for about 5 minutes, take out and air dry.
I take my garden rake to my spot and rake the leaves, twigs and branches back. I then scratch the ground a little and sow the seeds trying to keep them 6 to 8 inches apart. Turn the rake over and using the back of it gently pull some dirt back over the seeds. then I rake the leaves back over them and put any twigs, or branches over them.
Keeping unwanted wildlife out can be a big problem, I’ve been told construction fencing will keep them out, I personally have not tried this, but I think it might work. I do know for a fact lead with wings works very well!
I recently have found some very big ginseng that I plan to dig when the season opens and transplant to my little patch with the hopes of having some very good producers of wild seeds. It is my hope that this will help someone to be a good steward and keep ginseng thriving so that future generations can experience the thrill of finding and harvesting that huge plant!
Thank you Karen for this opportunity to share.