In my last post I talked about putting 20-thirty gallon bags of mulched leaves on my seed bed. This seed bed is a new spot behind my house where I am doing an experiment. I tilled the soil 15 inches deep (That deep I know) and mixed in plenty of finely mulched leaves with a rototiller. I had done this to this spot for the last 10 years and it is dark loose and loamy with some sand but not to much sand. Then I had broadcasted a pound of seed and raked it in last weekend. Then I covered it with more mulched leaves and watered it in with a long soak. I had also planted 1/4 lb of Goldenseal seed right along with the ginseng seed and as this may help prevent disease by breaking up the ginseng monoculture. I am going to baby this spot by watering it when needed and by adding Gypsum when needed. This is a spot that used to be my veg garden. Now the trees are to big and the spot is in the shade all of the time and my veg garden didn't do to good there anymore. So it is perfect for ginseng. I know by tilling the soil that deep the roots will be of low quality. However this is hopefully going to be a nice seed producing bed for me in the next 4 or 5 years. Slugs and weeds will be my only opposition and I will have to keep up on that. I have ginseng growing around my house now but this ginseng bed might give me a good amount of seed back in the near future and it will be fun to look at and tinker with. I have read where you can get 5 to 10 pounds of seed back for every pound of seed you plant in an optimal situation. I guess time will tell. If I could get 3 to 5 pounds of seed back that would be a good deal to me.
I hope you grow some real nice seng in that old garden spot and make bunches of berries/seeds.
I started a seed bed this fall but I transplanted nice roots (nice 3 and 4 prongs in) and bought 5 really nice roots from Billy and put them in there. Can't wait to see them next spring and hope to harvest a lot of nice berries from that bed.
I know what you mean about mulched leaves. My mom has a big yard with probably 25 (50-60 year old sugar maple trees) and I rake/blow them up and bag a lot of them and mix that in with my compost pile (for garden).
Mapel leaves break down quick, even if not mulched.
Oak leaves are a bit tough and do not compost well - but now I have not tried shredding them cause I get planty of the maple leaves - more than I really need.
I have been a Organic Gardner for 25 years or so and in my Garden I grow some real nice Tomatoes (big ones), sweet corn, squash, melons, okra, peppers, all kinds of goodies.
All I ever use for fertilizer is Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Epson Salt and my home made compost.
Thanks for the info. I have a seed bed too consisting of about 150 nice old 4 prong plants. Last year the darn slugs got to them and in one night they took about half the green leaves off. The next night I used slug bait and beer in saucers and the next night I bet I killed hundreds. I just didn't put it out early enough this spring. I didn't get many berries either. It's amazing how mother nature works. In the woods there must be some kind of natural insect or bird or something that eats the slugs. Most of the woods seng is healthy with very little damage from slugs most of the time.
I read a study done using different types of sawdust as a top dressing to put over established ginseng planting beds. For some reason OAK sawdust by far out preformed any other sawdust available. It increased root size verses all other sawdust. I am going to get some Oak Sawdust and let it compost for a year or so and then put it on the ginseng beds. I am just wondering if Oak Sawdust is that good are the Oak leaves better as well?
I will try to find the article and I will post it if I can find it.
OK I found that link about using Oak Sawdust and how it was best for increasing the root size naturally. Here is the link
Ginseng: how to find, grow, and use America's forest gold - Google Books Result
Now when I was searching the web to find the link about using Oak Sawdust I saw a different post that said not to use Oak Sawdust for mulching over freshly planted ginseng beds.
So your guess is as good as mine at this point.
That last method your trying out sounds the best to me. Especially that extra amount of dirt and compost on top of the seeds before the leaves are put on will give you good germination. All sounds good to me.
I'm thinking when you say you are applying mulched leaves, they are chopped up leaves? I know about five years ago I applied about 3\" of maple leaves that were chopped up by running my lawn mower back and forth over them. But chopped up leaves compacted too tightly and I had to remove most of it because the little seedlings were struggeling to emerge. Up here in Maine I end up with about 4\" of fluffy sugar maple leaves in the fall to protect the seeds from frost heaves. In the spring the leaves are compacted to about 2\" and I remove about half of that before the seeds emerge so they find their way easily through the mulch.
Here is a few things I read from Scott Persons book:
\"Oak leaves are an inferior mulch because they contain tannic acid, and also because they are large, tough, and slow to decompose, which makes it difficult for young sprouts to force their way up through them to the sunlight in the spring.\"
\"If you have dense soil or very sandy soil, or a soil that is low in organic matter (testing below 5%), then it should benefit from tilling in two or three inches of shredded or patially decayed leaves and bark-preferably poplar or sugar maple, but leaves and bark from most any deciduous trees other than oak are acceptable. (Oak leaves contain tannic acid, which will lower pH and alter soil chemistry.)\"
\"In the northern part of ginseng's range, where additional mulch is added to the beds to prevent frost heaving over the winter, that extra mulch may need to be removed a few weeks before the plants break the soil surface.\"
I think that if you have a small percentage of oak leaves mixed with other leaves, that would be ok. Also in the spring check the thickness of your mulch and make sure that it's not thicker than about 1\". If not, remove the excess. Then the seedling won't struggle to emerge.
Great information on the shredded/mulched leaves, as well not using Oak leaves. I appreciate the information. I always rake some of the leaves off around April 15th every year very carefully to help the ginseng babies get through the leaf litter. I did not do this my first year and the seeds sprouted and many got stuck under the compacted leaf litter. It is typically moist enough we do not have to worry about the ground drying out in a typical year when raking off a little bit of leaves or fluffing them up. Now this year is a different story. It was very dry in April. Everyone is doing similar ways of planting and it is interesting to see the small details we all take and to pick up tips and variations on planting.
Yes, I've learned alot from this forum. It's a great thing!
You mentioned slug problems. The slugs up here are terrible! If I did not take action to kill them, they could easily wipe out my Ginseng. I have been using Deadline M-P's(mini pellets) that Scott recommends, and after using it for two years my existing beds have just a small slug problem. But when I plant in new areas, there are hundreds of slugs ready to destroy. The thing about Deadline that is different than any other slug bait, is that it can withstand up to 7\" of rain without falling apart. Which is great in the spring time. The bad part is that it's spendy. I bought 10 lbs, and it lasted me two years. I searched along time to find where I could buy it in that large of a bag. If your interested in buying Deadline, let me know and I'll give you the website I found the cheapest. It's a small price to pay when you consider how valuable your seng is.