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TOPIC: First time digging.. I'm lost

First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30159

My grandpa always use to tell me how much ginseng we had on our property and this year I decided to go dig on the first day of the season. I know for sure what I was digging was ginseng and I found a good amount of it in our woods but I'm lost when digging it. I cleared the area around the plant and dug from about a foot and a half out inwards toward the plant trying to be careful. Before I know it I'm digging 3 by 3 feet deep holes and was just doing it all wrong. I eventually kept digging down trying to follow the plant to the roots but I felt like I was digging forever. I'm just looking for advice to dig the right way I'm not one of those people trying to make thousands or get my own fake tv show it's just something fun to do my grandpa. Any advice would be helpful!

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30161

Ohioboy20 wrote:

My grandpa always use to tell me how much ginseng we had on our property and this year I decided to go dig on the first day of the season. I know for sure what I was digging was ginseng and I found a good amount of it in our woods but I'm lost when digging it. I cleared the area around the plant and dug from about a foot and a half out inwards toward the plant trying to be careful. Before I know it I'm digging 3 by 3 feet deep holes and was just doing it all wrong. I eventually kept digging down trying to follow the plant to the roots but I felt like I was digging forever. I'm just looking for advice to dig the right way I'm not one of those people trying to make thousands or get my own fake tv show it's just something fun to do my grandpa. Any advice would be helpful!


Did you take any pics of the plants you were digging or pics of the holes you dug? If you can provide some pics or go back out and take some pics of other plants that you say are Ginseng, then we will know for sure! From the size of the holes, it doesn't sound like Ginseng but I could be wrong! Was the Ginseng planted on the property from seeds or rootlets or is it wild Ginseng?


Frank

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30164

The property is an hour away so I won't have a picture till this weekend. I took a plant to one of our neighbors there who also digs wild ginseng and he told me that it was ginseng. So I'm assuming maybe I was just too full of myself thinking I knew what I was doing. All I was using was an average shovel and after watching videos I'm almost certain I probably tore straight through everything. My grandpa said the last time ginseng was taken from there was about 20 years ago and the man took a whole big sack of it out so who knows maybe I wasn't digging it right or maybe I wasn't digging ginseng at all. I was sure to check it wasn't virginia creeper I kept some pictures of the two with me. I'll try to get pictures asap.

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30325

Digging seng is kinda like surgery. You just have to make sure not to break off any of the root or vein roots. Can be difficult near the base of trees. Anywho, i just use a Flathead screwdriver and feel my way down digging with my hands once I reach the bulb. A little tlc will get you a long way.

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30855

If the soil isn't rock hard, I usually start digging about 4-6 inches away from the stem with my fingers until I find out which way the neck, and main root are going. Then I work it out from there, following down every hair if I can.

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30939

Mortis,
I here you brother. I still do it the hard way but I do not trust myself with a pick axe or large tool yet.

Fingers and a flathead screwdriver is what I use. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes to dig a big root growing deep and hiding under tree roots and rocks. Sometimes I think when I am in the zone I can predict which way the roots is going to travel before I find the root.

Often I wish I would convert to a larger digging tool especially when I have a 1 foot deep hole a foot wide and I dug it with a screw driver. lol
I really do not dig much root anymore so I am kind of stuck in the past on my digging style.
Latt

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30940

Years ago about everyone used a large screwdriver including myself but in my type of soil I've discovered using a small mattock is just so much easier.
In soft dirt a screwdriver is great but I've seen too many roots butchered with screwdrivers. Especially in rocky, rooted areas. I tell all my diggers to get a good long handled digging tool to dig around the plant to loosen the soil and then work the root up.
When they do they come back grinning and tell me, man I should have had one of these digging tools a long time ago!

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 3 months ago #30954

I second Rootman's position on screwdrivers. I see more damaged roots from screwdrivers than any other digging tool out there. I like to use a long handle trapper's trowel. More than enough leverage for hard ground and wide enough surface to break up the dirt around the ginseng without getting close.

I'm not allowed to link here, or say where it is *whistling*

But there are pictures and instructions on how to dig ginseng available on ...umm....someones....ginseng website.

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Re:First time digging.. I'm lost 3 years 2 months ago #31188

Latt wrote:

Mortis,
I here you brother. I still do it the hard way but I do not trust myself with a pick axe or large tool yet.

Fingers and a flathead screwdriver is what I use. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes to dig a big root growing deep and hiding under tree roots and rocks. Sometimes I think when I am in the zone I can predict which way the roots is going to travel before I find the root.

Often I wish I would convert to a larger digging tool especially when I have a 1 foot deep hole a foot wide and I dug it with a screw driver. lol
I really do not dig much root anymore so I am kind of stuck in the past on my digging style.
Latt


I know what you mean about getting in the \"zone\". I don't feel like I did enough unless I come home with dirt crammed under every fingernail, and at least 1 or 2 split fingernails. Maybe a little dried blood on my knuckles, and a sandwich baggie of some roots that need washed.

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