To grow wild simulated ginseng you will want to walk through your woods and locate some areas with about 75 % shade preferrably on a east or north facing slope.
Ginseng likes a well drained soil but does like some moisture thats why hillsides are best and the east and north facing slopes have more shade through the hot part of the day. You can plant on other slopes as long as the shade is good and the ground is moist enough throughout the year. If it stays too dry in the summer the plants will not grow as well and will die back earlier in the season and limit your root growth. If it's too sunny they will get sunburned and eventually die all together.
Ginseng can be planted in random patches or in organized beds. I prefer beds only because if I need to be able to locate roots after the tops have died back I will have a set area to look in.
Once you decide the type of bed or patch you want to plant then comes the fun part, the planting.
Planting wild simulated ginseng does not take rocket science or fancy seeders. Grab a leaf rake and a stiff garden rake and head for the woods. Use your leaf rake to pull back the leaf litter to the desired size of the bed. Take your garden rake and chop the ground up about 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Broadcast your seeds throughout the bed and try to get about a six inch spacing on the seeds. More or less. It won't be perfect. If you want to be more exact you can hand place every seed but this could take a while.
Now that the seeds are broadcast take the leaf rake and flip it upside down and rake it across the bed to settle the seeds into the dirt. They only need to have a 1/2 inch to 1 inch of dirt on them. This will also help to protect them from mice and the elements. Now that you have them settled in just pull the leaves back over them and you are done.
If you have mostly oak leaves you may need to remve some in the spring due to the heavy nature of the leaves. The small plants can sometimes have a problem pushing through the thick leaves.
To grow goldenseal you should have shade simular to ginseng although goldenseal will tolerate a little less shade than ginseng.
You can plant goldenseal by seed or rhizomes. Seeds can sometimes be somewhat unpredictable and hard to find so most growers use the rhizomes. Many of the rhizomes will have multiple buds on them. What you will want to do for the best results is to cut the rhizome into pieces about 3/4 of an inch long. You should try to have a bud on each cut piece. Even pieces planted without a noticable bud will usually end up sprouting.
Plant the rhizome 1-2 inches deep with the bud facing up and 6-12 inches apart to give them room to grow. To increase your numbers you can dig these roots in 3 or 4 years and split them again as long as the growing conditions are good. Unlike ginseng goldenseal can be fertilized without hurting the final dried price unless you are going for organic root then a good compost would be better.
Bloodroot is grown in much the same way as goldenseal. It only needs to be planted about 1 inch deep with the bud facing up.
Bloodroot will come up early in the spring and can stand more sunlight than ginseng or goldenseal. If it is planted where it only gets early morning sun and shade the rest of the day it will grow fine. In our woods it is already up and bloomimg before the trees have had time to leaf out.
Bloodroot can be started from seed or rhizomes. The seed is easier to handle than the goldenseal seeds but alot of growers just take the small rhizomes of the parent plant and plant them. In good soil you can get new plants in 2 years from the parent rhizome.
Ginseng: 1 year rootlets are $50.00 per 100
2 year rootlets are $ 85.00 per 100
Ginseng seeds: $85.00 a pound. WE ARE SOLD OUT
Goldenseal: Rhizomes are $70.00 per 100
Bloodroot: Rhizomes are $75.00 per 100
Some other native plants
Black cohosh: Rhizomes are $125.00 per 100
Blue cohosh: Rhizomes are 125.00 per 100
Jack-In-The-Pulpit: $5.00 each
Maidenhair Ferns: $5.00 each
Trillium: Red, White, or Toad shade: $8.00 each
Spiderwort: $4.00 each
Wild purple iris: $5.00 each
These prices are current as of 8/08/13 but cannot be counted on to stay that way forever. Be sure to check with us before ordering to see if things have changed.
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Fresh root ready to be dried
Red / Purple Trillium
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Wild purple Iris