Judging from perspective, your beds appear to be roughly 25'L X 5' or 6' W. Is that close?
Thats a nice looking site. Is it in the same area where you had the high calcium soil?
If you get good 2 year survival, I am assuming you would be doing some transplanting. True?
Here is a pic of one that I put in this Saturday (12th). ... This bed is 27'L X 6'W. I have high hopes for this site, so I planted in rows at 9\" apart, with a 6\" seed spacing.
I had no where near the calcium count (1500lb/ac.) that you have, so I treated with 12lb gypsum, and 6lb. rock phosphate. The row lengths were 25', so I set some 2 year old rootlets in the last 2 feet of length and width.
You are very close on the bed size. The beds are 7 foot wide and 33 feet long for a total of 693 square foot. Typically I plant one pound per 1600 square foot. And yes at 2 to 3 years old these roots will be dug and transplanted up the hill to the left. This bed faces East. Yes it is in the same woods with the high calcium level. I want to take these rootlets and really spread them out on a fairly steep slope and thought I would give them a good start. Plus the slope is so steep it would be virtually impossible to keep my footing while raking etc. The spot that I am going to transplant the rootlets onto is the beginning of the ravine (wish I would have taken a pic) and is shaped like a horseshoe and is really high and faces North. I was not confident the seeds would hold all that well on the steep slope either. But once I get up there with a bag of rootlets and plant them they will be able to hold even with the rain run off on the steep slope.
Nice looking bed you have there too BFB. It looks to have a nice layer of leaf litter and you worked up the soil surface well with your rake.
Here is a pic of the same beds looking down the hill from the top of the bed. I took this pic before I scratched up the soil a bit and before I cleaned up the bed edges and prior to broadcasting the seed. I also extended the beds another 3 to 4 feet up the hill after I took this pic. The green plants growing on the soil were garlic mustard, some violets, and a few wild yams and were not even visible prior to raking off the leaves. It would have been possible to spray some roundup to kill these weeds prior to planting but I didn't. I think the weeds might be a little thicker than I wanted to see underneath the leaves. I did manage to scrape many of them off as I was scratching up the soil but I am sure I did not get to the root system. Looks like I will have some weeding to do next spring. Thank goodness the weeds come up 2 to 3 weeks prior to the ginseng sprouting in the spring. This will give me time to get them taken care of.
Good luck BFB and everyone!
You described a situation that I found myself dealing with this year. ie: I found a good spot that I 'thought' would make for a nice bed, and so I began raking, but found myself fighting a slope that was too steep for raking. At that point, I decided that the spot could still be used for rootlets, and so, after raking it back over, I moved down the hill to another pre-selected spot, and laid in a densely seeded nursery bed. If all goes well with that, in a couple of years, I'll thin the nursery bed, and move those rootlets up to the steep spot. In the meantime, and when conditions are favorable, I can enhance the soil a bit on that steep spot.
\"Nice looking bed you have there too BFB. It looks to have a nice _layer_ of leaf litter and you worked up the soil surface well with your rake.\"
Thanks Latt. As you can see in the pic, the first raking was left to right, then right to left, and then straight down the hill. Also, just a wee bit at the top. Rocks weren't bad at all, and many surface roots came out in nice clumps that I shook off. After seeding and treating, I mulched over with about 3/4\" of shredded maple leaves, and then raked back over with the row of leaf litter on the right. I laid some light brush over that for wind protection, and to discourage random turkey scratchings.
As you mentioned, I also took out some weed sprouts with my second and third rakings. Most of them appeared to be a little plant I call schoolcraft.
BFB, and anyone interested in a soil story.
I know you interested in soil so check this out.
You are not going to believe this. I have mentioned (many times I know, lol) the soil on that spot is really really dark, rich, sandy and loamy. Last night I took a 2 lb ziplock bag of dirt that I had brought home with me last Sunday from that woods. It looks like potting soil. I put it in a bowl and ran water on it to wash out the organic material last night. I wanted to see how much sandy limestone deposits are in the soil. So for about an hour I was a stirrin and a swishin that bowl of soil making sure the sand stayed at the bottom while eliminating the dark water full of the organic material. After I washed out all the organic material I was left with the limestone sand at the bottom. I let the water drain out of the sand a bit and then weighed it. The sand weighed 1 lb 3 oz. So I know it would only weigh about a pound if the sand was dried out to its original moisture level of the soil I bagged up.
So in a nut shell 1/2 of the total 2 lb weight is sand and the other 1/2 is organic material. This entire ridge is the remains of a glacier deposit full of ground up limestone and dark organic material
Only time will tell and there is no doubt the ginseng will grow like mad in this soil. The only problem I fear is that the soil may be too rich and loamy. I mean if the roots have 12 to 14 inches of great soil to grow in they may take on a carrot like appearance and be worth only a fraction of what \"Wild Simulated\" woods grown roots are worth typically.
Even thou I am planting in the woods \"Wild Simulated\" style the buyers don't care if the roots look like carrots. This is a real concern and I have never had to worry about the soil being too rich and loamy before.
I guess time will tell. I may have a woods full of \"Wild Simulated\" roots someday that look like \"Woods Cultivated\" roots and the value will be that of \"Woods Cultivated\".
It's too early to tell thou. I have over 5 lbs planted in this woods from the spring of 2010. So this spring will be their second year to grow. I am looking forward to seeing how they look by the end of next fall 2012. I really hope they are splitting off at the base and have lateral rootlets too. I sure hope they do not look like little white carrots. I have my fingers crossed.
Thanks for that post, as I am very much interested in soils.
That is some really unique soil (at least to me) that you have there. (1/2 sand and 1/2 organic ...Wow!) Also a very interesting and genuine concern you have there. Even the little that I know, I can easily see your concern with root development. Almost seems like some sort of an odd \"catch 22\". I'd say that its nearly a \"lock\" that you'll get some teriffic foliate plants, and I wish you all the best in root development. Like you say, Autumn 2012 will give you some insight form your 2 year olds as to how the rooting is likely to go. ... Man, I sure hope they fork off, or at the very least bend some.
In the mountain areas where I hunt 'presumedly wild', The nearest I have found to what you describe there would be a soil classified as \"Craigsville Gravely Loam\". That soil gets quite \"sandy\". I usually find that soil in an area where a small trib hits the main stem stream. Of course the silt is almost all sand, but once above the flood plain, it is some pretty nice stuff. I hunt several of these spots that are quite remote, and where the soil is conducive to 'seng, I find some pretty nice stands. ... For security's sake, when I start walking into one of those areas, I am carrying a flyrod, and my small digging tools are in my fishing vest ...
In the persuit of soils, during the early Spring of 2012, I hope to get over into some WV areas where there are outcroppings of limestone. Also, and I didn't know it at the time, (many years ago ... lol) the Wheeling, WV area, where I grew up, had some nice soils. Me and my high school hunting/trapping buddy found quite a good bit of 'seng and 'seal in those days. (1961 -1964).
The soil in my above pic is a dark grayish clay right under about an inch or so of humus. That clay goes down 4\" - 5\", and then it starts to yellow. At 6\" - 7\", it is mostly yellow. It is classified as Gilpen-Dekalb, but fortunately, a small area wherein that bed is located, is remarkedly free of surface and imediate sub-surface rocks. It does hold moisture nicely, and yet drains well; as noted in some random \"perc\" testing.
Yea, it a really unique situation. I have never experienced any soil with a lack of some clay. This soil is completely void of clay. I pulled up a 5 foot Japanese Honeysuckle in those woods with my bare hands like it was nothing. It would have taken me 5 to 10 minutes with a shovel back in my home town woods. I might take a shovel with me next time to see how deep this stuff really goes. Who knows it might go deeper than I want to dig.
OK, I am sure anyone reading this is tired of my soil story, so I will hold off now until I have something interesting to post. lol