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Post your experiences, questions and answers about growing wild-simulated ginseng

TOPIC: Stratified seed - 30.00/lb

Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4450

Hunter,

The Dealer that we have sold or ginseng to the past two years (and who is offering that stratified seed for $30.00 lb) is Glen Bradey - Pulaski TN - 931-363-4083.

He is a nice elderly fellow - I would say he is probably in his late 70's early 80's and has been dealing in Ginseng for a long long time.

Last year we sold or seng just a few weeks after we did our last dig (soon as that last bit dried out good). There is a guy in the county I live in that buys ginseng, and another in another nearby county and I checked their prices aginst what Glen was offering and every time I checked Glen was offering anywhere from 20-40$ lb more that the other two.

It is a little trip for us to go over and sell to Glen but we usually have 8-10 pounds to sell and it was well worth the trip over there for the difference.

Glen did mention to me that he has been selling to repeat buyers in neighboring counties for several years. I took that as a good sign cause if someone bought bad seed they would not keep comming back for more.

Course now I am just taking his word on that but he does seem like a nice and honest type person.

On that broadcast method. A few things to consider.

Absolutely no doubt that it would be best to take the time to plant 1 seed in 1 hole, cover with dirt, mulch with leaves.

And I plan to do quite a bit of that.

But if the price of the seed is low enough (say like this example 30.00/lb) you are not really risking a whole lot to try that broadcast method and do your best to time it right at the start of heavy leaf fall and hopefully when a heavy rain is on the way.

If you look at the odds...

Say that pound of seed counted out on the low side at 5000.

If 1% germinate that is 50 ginseng plants.
If 10% germinate that is 500 ginseng plants.
If 20% germinate that is 1000 ginseng plants.

Best I remember (sorry loaned my copy of Scotts Book to my ginseng hunting partner) so have to go by memory on this - I think he said that those who use the broadcast method were reporting in the 20-30% germination rate.

If you did get 20% germination, 1000 plants for 30.00 that is 3 cents each. Almost no labor involved in getting those 1000 plants (not compared to digging one hole, inserting 1 seed, covering with dirt, mulching with leaves).

I am going to buy a few pounds of that 30.00 seed this fall and broadcast it doing my best to time it right and just see how it goes.

I may also count out a few batches of 100 seeds and broadcast them in isolated spots where I can come back in the spring and count the 3 leafers that do happen to show up.

It would probably be good to do about 10 different isolated spots like that and count in the spring to see exactly what kind of germination rate I happened to get.

Sounds like a nice project for my to-do list this fall.

Best of Luck to all you folks on your Ginseng Growing efforts.

TNhunter

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4452

  • Billy
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Tnhunter the way I see it you are not going to loose much at that price if the seed does not produce good,but if it does you gain alot I/M/Opinion its a good try.

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4453

Hi,
Just like to give some more input into this broadcast method..IMO, maybe it would work better if the seeds were wild seeds because the stratified seeds have their husk removed and they must be kept moist at all times or the seed will die, Wild seed have an extra two layers of protection the pulp and the skin, this is what enables the wild seed to just fall off the plant and be exposed for long periods of time before working their way under the leaves into the soil. The stratifed seed are very vunerable and alot of care has to be taken with them to get them to do right, alot of times when you order seed and get them they are already starting to crack open mice love whats inside of the shell, sometimes i have noticed something will nibble on my seed on the plant however very seldom is the entire seed eaten, i think that the pulp and skin of the wild seed in unflavorable to most animals.
On germination rates: i have about up to 80-90% germination rates with most all that i have planted and that is a very good thing because the reality is thats the easiest part of growing ginseng, the hard part is waiting 8-12 years to harvest, the survival rate is the most important, after 10 years of growing expect your survival rate to be about 5% (thats 5% of whatever your germination rate was.) The first season is the easiest you go out to your crop to see 10's to 100's of thousands of young plants and think wow im going to make a fortune, but mother nature has a few surprises for you along the way,,,the soil is full of nemotodes and pathogens that will spell a quick and painful death for a huge percentage of the cultivated seed, those seed were grown in an enviroment that was full of fungicides pesticides and fertilizers and that has weakend the seeds ability to grow in an uncontrolled state. (wild) alot will make it up to about year 3 or 4 then its like they just start dying for a variety of reasons, my 1st year i planted 10 lbs that was in 1999, i had about a 90% germination rate i have less than 500 plants left of the original 50000 or so. Growing wild -simulated ginseng meaning (not cultivating the soil with a tiller, not using fertilizer, not using chemicals is not an easy thing to do.) if it was we would not enjoy such high prices for our efforts. Heres probably the best advice that i can give you...go out into the woods where you want to plant and look around right now and if you see large areas with little green vegetation or large bare areas that look like easy planting dont do it....there is a reason nothing or little is growing there now. look for places that have a good covering of vegetation right now that is your best planting spots...and good luck if you try broadcasting. It didn't work for me. hope this helps

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4456

K_duce,

Appreciate you sharing from your years of expericne at growing seng - that is exactly what we need here - advice that comes with experience behind it.

The broadcasting method is just one of the alternate methods that Scott mentions in his latest book and he did not really recommend it either. It seemed to me that he prefered to rake down a 5' strip, drop a measured amount f seeds over that strip about 4-6\" apart and then rake down the next 5'strip to cover the first - then continue that up the hill until you had planted all of that aread that was plantable.

I plan to try some of that tooooo.

I also plan to make me a planting stick with a blade on the end that will poke a hole thru the leaves, loosen up the soil a bit hopefully end up with a 1/2\" to 3/4\" deep planting hole and then a tube (1/2\" pvc pipe) for dropping the seed in, then cover it with soil/leaves by a little boot action.

One of the other guys in Scotts book mentioned making a planting stick like that and he preferred to plant em 1 at a time like that.

I have seen others online that suggest raking back a srip of leaves then digging a small trench 1\" deep at most then dropping seeds in that trench every 4-6 inches. Moving the dirt back over, then walking that row to compress the soil on top of the seeds then raking more leaves back on top.

Even though Scott did not prefer some of those methods (and he always commented where that was the case) he still mentioned them saying that what works well for one location may not work nearly as well for another.

He was tossing out several methods for those who were interested in trying them to see what works best for their specific situation.

In the end I expect I will perfer the seed stick, planting 1 at a time in rows method but now I may experiment some (especially since I can get seed for 30.00/lb) and just see how well some of these other methods work. If you look at the timeframe where the broadcast method would have the best chance it would really be limited to only a week or so in the fall. You would have to hit it at that time to get the highest germination rate possible with that method.

I like your suggestion on waiting until late winter/early spring to do some planting. Here in Middle TN we usually have few weeks in Jan/Feb where the ground is frozen but that is about it, most of the rest of the winter/early spring you could sure get out there and plant seed and hopefully at a time when the critters are mostly taking their winters nap.

Question on seed storage . . . .

If I were to buy say 5-10 lbs of that 30.00 seed, how much trouble is it to keep it stored and viable for 2-3-4 months ?

Thanks

TNhunter

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4459

k-duce

That sounds very discouraging only having 5% survive til harvest time.In your example that would only be a little over 1 pound of roots per pound of seed planted.

In Scotts book and other growers I have talked with I think the average is around 7 or 8 pounds harvested roots per pound planted.[wild-simulated]

I know there is no exact amount because of so many variables, but it seems like it would be hard to make a profit at that 5% example.

You mentioned shade grown seed as being prone to disease because of the way it was raised such as fungicides and fertilizer.Maybe seeds from woods grown farms would be healthier and would then be more likely to survive to maturity and get closer to that 7 or 8 pounds instead of only 1 or 2 pounds.[per pound planted]

I guess that it is possible that the artificial shade seed might have comparible gerination rates as woods grown seed, but maybe the woods grown seed would have lower attrition rates over the next few years.[meaning more make it to maturity and harvest]

I am interested to hear anyone elses thoughts and experiences.


Lenno

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4466

TNhunter wrote:

K_duce,
Question on seed storage . . . .
If I were to buy say 5-10 lbs of that 30.00 seed, how much trouble is it to keep it stored and viable for 2-3-4 months ?
Thanks
TNhunter


I have tried a few ways to store the seed both for long term 2-4 months and for short term 2-3 weeks,
first the long term:
1 example, I built a stratification box and buried it in the soil about 18 inches deep, i placed it in a area where i thought the drainage was good,with some shade, inside the box on the bottom and the top inside i placed burlap material so the seeds would not fall out and to deter insects worms form getting into the sand and seed, i placed about a 1 inch layer of sand in the bottom then about 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of seed then sand then seed ect....just try not to let your seeds clump together in piles in the box, also completly top the box off with sand. then place the top burlap and screen on the box and bury.(Wait dont bury yet...depending on how heavy the seeds/sand/box is..it will be a total pain in the rear to pull out of the ground. take two nylon ropes and place under the box and pull them up to the top of the soil or the top of the box, that will come in handy in removing the box from the ground.
2nd method i used (easier) follow the above instructions in box preperations except if you have a barn/shed with a dirt floor place the box in that....then go around the box with concrete blocks about 18 inches on each side then fill in the area with sand and fill over the top of the box with sand, keep sand moist until you are ready to plant your seed. you dont have to cement the blocks together just stacking is fine.
short term__ if you have a cool basement and a plastic trash can that is fine just check seed daily for moisture. or the refridgerator is an option just make sure the seed are not freezing with ice. keep in 1 gallon plastic bags and take a couple of paper towels and wet with tap water then squeeze excess out and place in each bag. attached is a pic of one of my first boxes, i wanted something that would allow moisture to pass but not allow it to pool inside the box. i used that box for about 4 seasons. hope this helps
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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4467

oops and the bottom of the box, i split the box in the middle because i had wisconson seed and canadian seed
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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 4 months ago #4475

Since last spring was my first planting of seeds, I tried a bit of everything. Site is good: hillsides, hardwood trees, bloodroot, wild ginger and jack growing naturally.

Simple broadcast - not much of anything. I think I gave the mice and birds a tasty snack. And they can sniff those seeds out.

Hand planting seeds 1\" into untilled earth on hillsides - maybe 1 out of 3 came up.

Hand planting seeds on hillsides with oak leaves - almost nothing. Yes, I need to rake the leaves in the spring, repeatedly. The wind blew a buch of leaves onto the site after I had raked once.

Hand planting into tilled earth or in pots - just about 100% germination, hillside and flat ground.

My wife put some seeds along the inner edge of an ATV trail I had cut across a hillside, where soil had eroded onto the inner edge of the trail. Just about 100% of them came up.

The lesson seems pretty clear - seeds do best when put into very soft or tilled soil. Just pushing them into hard earth on hillsides doesn't work all that well.

I transplanted roots out of the tilled beds and onto hillsides this summer, they seem to be doing quite well.

Put out 100 3YO roots in the spring, four came up. That was a bust. I'm watching the planting site, maybe they'll come up next spring after a freeze/thaw cycle. May try 3YO roots this fall to see if that does any better.

Going to try both expensive and inexpensive seed this fall. Plan on tilling and densely planting a couple of shaded acres near my house, and transplanting late in summer - that seems to have worked the best for me, even if it is more labor intensive.

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 3 months ago #4495

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Johno,
Thanks for this information

( The lesson seems pretty clear - seeds do best when put into very soft or tilled soil. Just pushing them into hard earth on hillsides doesn't work all that well. )

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Re:Stratified seed - 30.00/lb 7 years 3 months ago #4502

The One method of broadcasting the seeds on top of the leaves and just leting them be was quoted by TNhunter as one method listed in Scott Persons book. In his book he said that the person who told him of success with that method lived in western Wisconsin. I Grew seng in western Wisconsin for 9 years and I believe that method would work for that area of the country because you have such a heavy leaf drop of Maple trees and then you consider that shortly after the leaves drop you get anywhere from 6 to 12 feet of snow starting in Nov. to help settle the seeds through the leaves and to keep the seeds moist until the snow is gone sometime in April. Scott person said that he tried that method with hardly any plants coming up. Unless you live in an area with plenty of snow I believe that most of the seeds would dry up and die.

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