I am going on my seventh year of growing Wild-Simulated seng. All my seeds have come from Paul Hsu's cultivated Ginseng. My plants range from 1-7 yrs old. I have not harvested any yet. I plan to start harvesting in 3-4 yrs.
I guess the real question is whether roots from cultavated seeds will bring as high of price as other seeds. I will know in 3-4 years. I believe they will bring as high a price as other seeds as long as they are grown as Wild-Simulated.
Here is a link to Bob Beyfuss with a beautiful seng plant grown from cultivated Wisconsin seed.
I don't think it will make any difference in the end result (of root characteristics) if the seed was wild, wild simulated, woods grown cultivated or artificial shade grown cultivated...
How it is grown will determine that.
If you till the ground and plant any kind of seng seed (even wild seed) you are going to get cultivated root results (carrot like roots - long - straight, heavy-dense roots) without that wild look.
If you just rake back the leaves and put the seeds on un-cultivated ground (or perhaps cultivate at a max of 1\" depth as in Hankins method) then cover with leaves and let it grow that way (no chemical fertilizers), the roots should be indistinguishable from wild because it grew in wild conditions.
The difference in seed source may make a difference in the likelyhood that diseases could be introduced into your planting sites by the seed source though.
Larry Harding told me that even in his wild simulated plantings he has to spray often to keep foliar diseases suppressed. He said if he does not do that he most likely would not harvest a crop.
Buying wild simulated seed may reduce the chances that diseases are introduced by the seed source but based on what Larry Harding told me that is definately not a sure thing.
Yes, it's Larry Harding and my long conversations with him that have me thinking about this Q. He told me with some determination that the origins of his seeds were all wild, and this was going to affect the potency and quality of whatever harvested root you got down the road.
Like TNHunter said, he also sprays significantly every year. 'Course he's got 80 [yup, eighty] acres of growing 'sang going on, and over 50 years of experience.
I bought a pound of seed from him last week, and it arrived yesterday. I also got 250 3 year old roots from him. All are going in the ground this weekend.
I havn't heard too much from other sources about the quality of the seed affecting the quality of the harvest. It does stand to reason, based on other planting experiences that this would be true.
However the point from Classicfur remains... as to appearance. Larry Harding also stated that this is a prime factor in sellings one's roots, so it's still a bit of a mystery to me which factor plays the most important role.
If both qualities [potency and appearance] are what we are after, then well, this is really the question I ask in this post. It would be nice to have the determination from somewhere on which method to use to grow \"Emperor root\" which seems to be most valuable!
I don't know of any buyers that test the potency of roots before they buy your roots.
Buyers look at the the appearance of roots. Roots that have Character such things as growth rings and off shoots that add quality. They check the neck for age. They also snap a few roots to make sure they are dried properly.
As far as potency, I don't think a grower needs to be too concerned about that, unless buyers start testing for potency before they buy the roots.
You stated that Larry Harding said that his seeds orgin is from wild seeds. I think I would have more concern about roots that were sprayed with chemicals about every other week for seven years or more, like Larry Harding does. I personally think that roots sprayed with chemicals on a regular basis is the same as what cultvated seng farmers do because they grow their roots so close together. Which allows for more chance of disease.
I believe that Wild-Simulated roots should be grown, with space between the plants so that just a few tops are touching each other and gives the plants a better chance of being disease free. Then you don't need to spray chemicals as much, if at all.
I agree that the amount of chemicals sprayed is a big concern. I also intent to have my grown plants to get as close to the \"wild-simulated\" as I can. Spraying a lot was not in my model, however am considering the need now after talking to Larry.
When you go to Harding's website, there's a park-like appearance to all the beds shown, big beautiful plants crowded in long workable beds down the hillside, and really not too much slope shown. It's a very nice website.
I'm investigating as much as I can about the \"proper\" approach to growning sang. I'm admittedly a relative newbie to the the process, with less than a year in. I'm pretty happy with the work put in so far, however, I am also keeping an open mind as to the approach and possible improvements!
You guys here are pretty awesome about sharing the knowledge, and keeping a forum that is pretty polite! I appreciate that!
My background has trained me to look at the details..... so have some detailed Q's from time-to-time for you guys.
I had visited Larry's ginseng farm last September. What a sight to see. He does grow some Woods Cultivated and a lot of Wild Simulated. His seed stock originated from wild ginseng in his area back in the day. I know he sprays to prevent many diseases that can wipe out ginseng. I guess if I had 80 acres of sang growing, I would know when to spray and when not to spray. I would do everything possible to protect my ginseng especially if I were doing it for a living.
I am confident his seeds and plants have been exposed to less sprays than Shade Grown Field Cultivated seed and plants. So I still feel like I am getting a great product from Larry.
I have always had great seed germination rates from his seed as well year after year.
I will continue to buy from him for sure as well as from some other seed suppliers.
In the last six years I have sprayed once for alternaria blight on some two and three year olds. I sprayed them with a Natural Biological Fungicide, Bacillus Subtilis GB03. This stuff is not a chemical fungicide.
I have not had much problem with diseases.
I also will start to use this spring, Plant Helper(Trichoderma Atroviride), which is a natural fungus found in soils.
I have bought rootlets from Hardings in the past and they were always generous with the amount shipped.
Keep learning so when situations arise, you know how to deal with it. I'm still learning after six years.
I doubt there is any long term systematic difference between seeds from cultivated and wild ginsengs. Other than maybe the initial growth which can be dependent on the nutrient content stored in the seed, if they are planted under the same condition, any long term systematic difference in potency, size, etc, will be caused by genetics. And genetics changes slowly over multiple generations. Then the question will be whether cultivated and wild ginseng have different genetic traits. Considering the lack of any breeding program, any difference will be minimum.
On Harding's farm, I suppose spraying is inevitable if you have such a large operation on a plant that's disease prone. On the other hand, I believe his farm is certified organic. So I'm wondering what kind of spray he uses.