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Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Ginseng | Print |  E-mail

When will my ginseng start to have seeds?


From seeds:  the third year will start to have berries. If you plant 2 year old roots, you will have berries the in the fall. Each berry will have 2 seeds.

When can I plant seeds or roots?

The best time to plant is sometime at the end of Sept. until the end of February. Seeds or plants will start to come up at the end of April or 1st of May so they need to already be in the ground before April. 

What is stratified seeds?

They are seeds that have been harvested one year ago, stored in damp sand, and they will sprout up the following spring.

How do I stratify my seeds?

In the fall when you harvest seeds, you can leave the pulp on the seed. Dig a hole in a good, well-drained, shady area. Line the sides and bottom with brick or large rocks to keep moles and mice out. You can even bury a 5 gallon bucket with plenty of drain holes drilled in it if you have a small amount of seeds to stratify. Line the bottom with 1 inch sand, then a 1 inch layer of seeds, then another layer of sand. Keep adding a layer of sand and a layer of seeds until you get to the top. Make sure the top layer is sand and cover it with a sheet of old plywood.

How deep do you plant seeds and roots?

Plant ginseng seeds about 1/2 inch deep, 2 year old roots about 1½ inches deep. Lay the roots on their side, not vertical. Then cover the whole bed with 1 inch of mulch or rotten leaves. You can make the seed beds as long as you want but only five foot wide so you can get the weeds out.

How do I dig my roots?

Dig roots in the fall as the above-ground parts die back. Ginseng roots do not grow straight down. They are usually at about 45 degrees in the ground. Carefully expose the underground stem at the base of the above-ground portion, and  follow it until it joins the top of the true root. Remember that the taproot may be forked and that it has many diffusely branched rootlets. Expose the whole root and wash as soon as possible but do not scrub. A little soil left around the root rings may enhance its value.

How do I dry my roots?

Spread cleaned roots on a piece of old ply wood or screen rack in the shade for drying. Turn them frequently to provide adequate aeration. Drying time varies with root size and drying techniques. Large roots require three or more weeks to dry at room temperature or outdoors but small roots dry in a few days. I dry them until they just start to snap when you bend enough to break them. More rapid drying is possible, with artificial heat at about 90 degree F, using exhaust fans to get rid of the moisture. Do not oven dry. Drying too fast will discolor the roots. Store the dried roots in a dry, airy, rodent-proof place until ready for sale.

 
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