The reason i'm asking, is that i've \"replanted\" hundreds of berries in the past few years, within a few feet of where i've harvested the root, and I haven't really seen much of a return on them. Makes me wonder if i'm doing something wrong.
I'm going to give my two cents worth on this because so many of us have had problems with our new plantings. Most of these have been with stratified seed and a few with berries taken from harvested plants. Since planting them straight into the ground after you have harvested the roots is not quiet as easy to follow; because of it taking two seasons to see results, as compared to the next spring with stratified seed, it is a little harder to follow the results. Most of the time it has been recommended to plant stratified seed about 1/2 - 3/4 inch in the ground. We have had lots of problems with planting seed at that depth because of dry weather allowing the seeds to dessicate or dry out. I personally think you need to plant newly harvested seeds to almost 2 inches in the ground. If you have seasons like we have this year or even close to it you stand a big chance of losing fresh berries before they get to the second season if they are planted shallow. If you have ground that holds moisture real well, 3/4 of an inch may work well. I don't think you will lose any from planting them at 2 inches, just to be sure. Good luck.
My foremost thought when planting berries is to find the softest loam possible nearby. Typically next to rocks. This is normally where years of leaves have loaded up and created that nice soft loam. In this pic you can see the black loam way up past my wrists, as I've been able to really get my hands up into that black loam while digging. That soft soil is by far the best for growing seng and easier to dig too!
I have been planting mine the same for many years now...
On depth (on average 3/4 to 1\" deep)... in softer loam or sandy soil deeper, in clay shallower.
In October 2009 me and my boy took a little hike down to the waterfall out back and there were a couple of pale yellow 3 prongs on the bank there that had a few red berries left.
We collected the berries and harvested the roots and I showed him how to do all of that.
Planted those berries back right there where we harvested the parent plants.
On April 21 2011 we made another trip to the waterfall and checked out the results... (see below).
Notice that some of them came up in pairs - for those both seeds from the berry actually germinated and sprouted.
I have been hunting these hollows for many years now... and I always plant my berries in a row/trench... and when you go back a couple years later you have all of these 3 leafers growing in a nice straight row. Then 6-8 years later you will have a nice string of 3 prongs all growing in a straight row.
It's a cool thing to see work out but does take some time.
Everyone is different but, where I did is mostly on hill sides so I will scratch the ground real quick with my digger directly below the plant. The size of the seed head determines how much ground I scratch up. Then while I'm digging the root I pull the dirt down and over the berries. Usually an inch or so deep and when I finish digging out the root and all the seeds are covered I rake some leaves over the new seed bed.
First thing, look for the greener areas on a hillside now. Gig a hole and feel the ground. If it is moist a good chance you have an excellent area. Next to rocks is a good idea as the moisture and dew runs off to help the plant. Only drawback is in very cold weather it seems to freeze the root a little more, causing plant not to grow for a year or two. We have noticed areas where a white birch has fallen over and been rotting in the ground has some plants around it, even if none are in the nearby area. Birch logs hold moisture because of the bark.
I think the moisture situation for gingseng is really not been analyzed enough, it needs more water than most people think, but not constantly. A good dousing followed by a dry period is perfect. My biggest failure has been in a clay soil, too wet over a period of time with no dry-out time. A big root can withstand the dryer period than a smaller one, and as stated the seeds are lost in a dry time. Look for moist soil on a hillside, it will work.