If I had the money and had a long term plan to plant 6 pounds, I would go with option \"B\"!
I would plant 2 pounds a year for 3 years but plant each 2 pounds in different prepared locations (plots). I would check for losses (non-germinated seed) the next two following seasons (i.e. the year the seeds should have germinated and come up and the following year for late germinations) in each plot. I would then fill in the losses with purchased rootlets. This plan allows for better determination of losses, allows for possible mitigation of future losses and should help with substantial or total losses (i.e. the soil in the ground chosen was not right for Ginseng and/or a fungus or disease had invaded the soil). However, this plan relies upon the Grower having at least three different plots of land in which to plant. In the 3rd year after planting each plot, the Grower should start planting in between plants with seed and possibly some rootlets every year thereafter to insure that when harvesting in the future, there is a viable crop to harvest each of the following years. It is highly likely that by the 5th or 6th year after initially planting seeds in each plot, the Grower will be able to harvest seed from his' own crops to continue planting in the proceeding years without the need to purchase any seed. Any surplus of seed could be used to start Ginseng beds and/or sell them commercially.
Those are my thoughts but I really want to see what others have to say on the matter.
Huntsman gave you sound advice for sure.
I am not sure what you financial situation is. If you have a good woods with good soil and have an extra $600 to spend per year for the next 3 years, then I would plant a minimum of 6 lbs per year for the next 3 years. In year 4 you will be glad you did.
Not sure of your choice of growing methods. If you want to get the best return on your investment then plant wild simulated style but take care of your plants. Some would say that is woods grown or woods cultivated. But I am not recommending you till the soil. I am just recommending you spray when necessary to maximize your success rate.
If you have the land and some great soil on nice slopes for drainage facing north or a good easterly direction I'd chance the whole 6 lbs.
The biggest mistake people make is hoping it will grow in less than desirable locations and that's a disaster.
Take your time when you plant and don't plant to densely. That's a mistake.
6 lbs. will plant a lot of ground if planted sparingly and you won't have as much die off.
Be prepared to spend a good week at it because haste makes waste.
I do believe that I have some ideal ginseng growing areas on my NC mountain land. I planted almost two pounds last year, but made sure to spread it out to a lot of different areas to see where it grows best. Some of my land is steep with lots of rock, so I worry that it won't be easy to dig out of all the rock, but there are lots of ferns, moss, jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapples, etc, so I think it will do well. I've even found the miniature form of ginseng with the little ball root, but unfortunately, I haven't found a single real wild ginseng plant.
In some spots, there is lots of moist black soil from decomposed leaves, but there is rock only a few inches below that, so I wasn't sure about areas like that. I don't know, maybe that will make for the best looking roots!
I've even got some very large boulders with small trees growing on top of them, and I thought that might be a good spot to try (the poacher's will have to carry ladders to find that!), but then I thought to myself that it might get too dry on top during the summer spells without rain. Needless to say, tilling is not going to be an option.
I think that I'll just plant whatever that I can each year, depending upon seed prices and affordability.
I would say to take your time and ease into it the first 3-4 years.
It takes about that long to figure it all out, and to find out what works best for your location.
If you buy 6 lbs and plant it all at once... man that is a lot of work... and not sure about you but once I get seeds, I feel pressured to get them in the ground as soon as I can. Storing them for longer terms is risky by itself.
So having a lot of seed on hand and rushing to get them in the ground can be quite stressful and when you rush something you are just not going to get as good a results as you would have if you took your time and did it right.
So I would say it depends on your experience level as to whether or not planting large quantity makes sense. If you have put in the time, and seen the results over 3-4 years, then no problem - if you are up to the task plant that 6 lbs in one year.
If you are just getting started and still learning how this is going to work on your place, then I would do the 1 or 2 pounds a year for a few years before going all out.
It sounds like you have some good companion plants... but my experience on my place is that if there is wild ginseng growing there already, it's a sure bet to be successful. If not.. then it's definitely more of a gamble.
Once again MaxPanax you have received sound advice from TNhunter.
However my only regret is that i didn't plant more 5 years ago. I have put 50 lbs in the ground in the last 5 years and I only wish I would have doubled or tripled that. I think Whitjr would concur. Thanks Whit.
I have had varying degrees of success so be prepared to see results that vary. If you have the right trees, canopy and the right soil then go for it.
I am not happy unless I have some seng seed in the fall to plant. I always feel like I wish I would have bought more once it is all in the ground. Sometimes I will buy another pound late in the year to get my fix. lol I look forward to becoming a world class leaf raker every fall. Love being in the woods raking leaves and planting seeds.
I can assure you of one thing and this is a fact. If you plant wild simulated style you will see your efforts diminish by a minimum of 10% each year. So be prepared for that. If you get 80% germination the following year only 70% will come up do to various reasons.
After 10 years you will be left with about 10%. So if you plant 1 lb of seed containing 6,500 seeds you will be lucky if you have 650 plants left at year 10. Still not bad tho as 650 roots is over 2 lbs of seng.
I would consider spraying if you have the means for it. You will improve your survival rate by a great deal.
One last thing, I dug a few of my 3 year old's this past Sat just to see how big they are. I have a lot of seng planted in Beech tree forest. Beautiful canopy and beautiful soil.
However, I think it was Rootman, Frank or K_Duce or someone said that Beech trees diminish a lot of the soil nutrients by absorbing it with their surface roots. I can tell you this. My survival rate after 3 years is outstanding. I have no disease. However, my 3 year old roots are tiny still. About the thickness of a drinking straw and only 2 to 3 inches long. Some are even smaller than that.
It will be years before I can dig them to sell. So trees definitely can help and hurt as well.
Both Latt and TN Hunter have given sound advice, from different perspectives.
In determining what your focus is... that should dictate the approach you take. Do you want an income from this? do you want to save the forests, and the 'sang populations? Have you researched the manner to grow 'sang enough to decide on your approach? All of these are very useful questions.
There's some very smart folks on this forum, that have decided on their intent, and allowed that to focus their direction. After all, I would ask you to answer your questions, and go from there. When I posted above, I was coming at it from my perspective. TN Hunter is giving you sound advice from his perspective, having answered his Q's. Latt is more of a combination of TN Hunter's and mine.
I'm coming at it from a perspective of getting a small section of mountain forest saved from invasive rhododendron, and cementing my retirement with an income. My partner and I view this as a \"win-win\"....
Whit, thanks bud for the reply. I am in it more now for different reasons than I was 5 years ago. Now I think if I make some money down the road that will be great?
However, just as you said I too just want to put some seng back in the woods. I love going to my spots and just looking at it. I know it sounds crazy but I think I Would be OK with it if I never dig any of it.