Welcome aboard! If I were you I would read as many postings under the forum topic Growing Ginseng. Check out some books on planting ginseng seed too. I would buy 1 lb and give it a try. It will cost you between $50 to $150. There are many articles under Growing Ginseng pertaining on how to plant that pound of seed. But you need to plant it on 1,600 square feet of good woodland soil and get the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the soil surface. Plant in Oct or Nov in my opinion. There is other good tips to follow on this site that will increase your success level.
Just wondering if you have any ginseng hunting experience, or if you are new to ginseng completely, or just new to growing wild-simulated ginseng.
If you are a seasoned ginseng hunter that will sure help with getting started on growing because you will have a very good idea where to plant and how to plant it.
Location is critical - Ginseng will not grow (well) just anywhere. Best bet is to have a location that has healthy stands of wild ginseng growing on it. If you have that then you can just plant more in the same areas where you find the wild.
If you have a location that has some wild seng on it, but it is not healthy & thriving - you would want to start out with a soil test - calcium levels are very important. You need 2000+ pounds per acre of calcium available - and in the 3000-5000 range is even better.
On how much seed to start with - this will give you an idea.
1 pound of seed is around 7000 seeds.
In a 5x50' bed you should plant around 1000-1200 seeds (at 4-5 seeds per sq ft).
So if you buy a pound of seed - you could plant around 7 of those 5x50' (250 sf) beds. For a total of 1750 sf of bed planted.
If you want to start very small - you could just order around 1000 seeds and make one bed. If you think you are up to planting a pound - then go for it.
Last year was my first year at planting seed and I planted almost 4 pounds - but now I am a very experienced ginseng hunter (been hunting since the 70's).
I have hunted it a few times but not to dig and sale we actually transplanted it to a bed at home and it done well I'm not sure what happened to it because I was like 10 yrs old then but I was just wanting to get back into having me a few beds at home and plant some In nature and maybe dig a little to sell but raising it for fun is my goal you mentioned planting it where I find some if I find some and it doesnt seem to thrive to I take a soil sample to ascs office? There was several plants around a few 4 prongs and several little ones so maybe someone has dug there before I don't know but I really don't know much about how thick a patch I should expect but I found it pretty quick and it's been yrs since I looked for it but I would like to have about 4 beds in different woods for a harvest a few years from now
Start small. Develop a feasible short term and long term plan.
For example, when I started out I knew that I'd want to be using my own seed within the first few years to cut cost, rather than relying on buying seed every season.
For my first patch I bought a half oz of stratified seed and about 75 three year old rootlets. The rootlets serve as my \"seed bed\", being three years old they started producing berries/seed the very next year.
For the next two seasons I bought an oz and started small, manageable patches. For the seeds I spaced them fairly far apart, 10-12 inches, because I'd heard that the better air flow would reduce the risk of pathogens or disease. Then again I've got plenty of space.
Welcome to the forum and best of luck to you.
If you can plant in a area where you are finding decent 4 prongs here and there then I would not bother with a soil test.
Just plant in the same general area that you found those 4 prongs and I would sure expect your plantings to do well.
Most States have a place you can go to get a soil test done. Here in TN - I collect about a cup of dirt (from the top 4\" of soil) and collect several samples from the hillside I intend to plant, then mix that up and take a 1 cup sample of that and send it off for the soil test. My test here cost 7.00 and we get a fairly detailed test results report back.
You would need to check with your state or county ag office and see what your options are.
The main thing for growing healthy ginseng is calcium content and also soil PH.
Calcium levels best in the 3000-5000 pounds per acre range but over 2000 is good enough.
PH best around 5.5.
Soil test will give you those details and more.
Again - if you are finding decent 4 prongs in a area - I would not bother with a soil test.
If you were finding seng in a area, but only smallish 3 prongs, then you might want to check the soil. Areas like that are likely going to be on the low side on calcium.
If your PH is in the 5.5 range, but calcium is low (below 2000) you can increase calcium content by adding gypsum.
Gypsum will increase calcium without affecting PH.
If your PH was low (say 4.0-4.5) then you could add some Lime or Bone Meal to add calcium and raise the PH. Lime and Bone Meal will both add calcium but will also raise PH.
My place that I planted last fall - soil test showed PH in the 5.4-5.7 range (ideal) but calcium levels in the 1450 range (low). I used gypsum to increase calcium without affecting PH.
The reason I did my soil test was that I have ginseng growing here on my place but hardly ever find a 4 prong - mostly small 3 prongs (even when 20+ years old). So I knew my place was not ideal for seng, it grew here but was not really thriving.
I also have fairly heavy timber on most (mature hardwoods) and fairly deep shade. Too much shade can make seng grow slower than ideal. Could take you much longer go grow decent sized roots if too much shade.
Sites that get some good morning sun, but then are shaded well the rest of the day - seem to work well.
Check your hillsides for areas that get good morning sun but are shaded well the rest of the day. That is where I would put some plantings in first.
1000-1200 seeds will make 1 bed 5'x50' long (250 sf).
When you first start off it will probably take you a couple hours to plant a bed like that. As you do more you will get faster. It takes me 45 minutes to 1 hour to plant a 250 sf bed but now I am 50 years old (will be in September anyway) and I don't get in any big hurry when panting.
I can plant a pound of seed by myself in 6-7 hours.
Others here have reported much faster results but when you first start out don't expect to be that fast at it. Take your time and do it right first, then you can improve on your speed later on.
Best of Luck.
PS - when you get a chance check out my youtube channel.
Several vids on hunting seng, and some on planting wild-simulated too.