How to Plant Ginseng Rootlet
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Plant the rootlets immediately after receiving from commercial vendor for better survival rate. If you have to delay your planting, please keep them in a cool place, preferably in a refrigerator. Unseal the bag occasionally, every 2-3 days, to allow fresh air inside. Usually rootlet plantings should be finished a few weeks before soil freezing temperatures are anticipated.
The rootlets should not be allowed to wilt, and do not damage the white bud as it contains the stalk and leaves (in miniature form) of the next year’s plant. If the bud is damaged, or removed, the rootlet continues in dormancy, forms a new bud and a stalk emerge one year later.
1. Plant in rich, loamy soil with good drainage. The best area is on a hillside in the woods where the plants are shaded from direct sunlight. Ginseng likes growing in the cool woods with 70% to 80% shading.
2. If planting in a garden, provide a slatted shade cover with an opening facing eastward to protect the ginseng from all but a little morning sun. The slats should run perpendicular to the path of the sun.
3. Plant the rootlets in the ground at least six inches apart in a “V” shaped hole (or trench).
4. Lay each rootlet down with the growth bud pointing upwards, positioning it so it will be about ½” to 1” below the soil surface.
5. Backfill with dirt and lightly pack with the flat of a rake. This will firm the soil around the roots, and will keep them from excessive drying, especially if weather is dry after planting time.
6. Cover over the area with about 2 inches of leaf litter. Leaf litter is important as an organic fertilizer and for mulching. Light mulching in addition to natural leaf fall helps retain moisture, prevent leaching, maintain humus level and minimize frost heaving and damage during the winter months.
7. Mark the area with stakes so you’ll know where to look for the plants next spring.
After the garden has been planted and mulched, the beds will require little care until plants start to emerge. Fall planted gardens should be checked several times during the winter, making certain that portions of the mulch have not blown away. Brush or similar objects placed on the bed will help hold mulch in place.
During the winter months, ginseng roots in the bed will be frozen solid and this does not usually harm them. Excessive repeated freezing and thawing may damage or even kill the roots. The mulch cover holds the soil at a more constant temperature, not allowing it to warm as much in the daytime or to freeze so quickly at night. Also, the mulch will keep beds from warming too rapidly early in the spring and premature emergence of plants which may be nipped by a late frost.
In the spring when ginseng starts to emerge you should check the beds in case the mulch is too heavy and is preventing some stalks from emerging. The stalk will be doubled over as it pushes up through the soil and will straighten erect after it is completely emerged.