Great post TN. Sure can learn a lot from trial and error and sharing the good experiences with the bad. These pics sure prove that getting the seeds 1/2 to 1 inch below the soil is the way to go in my opinion and this post proves that.
Good info TnHunter, my 3 leafers appear as yours. Dug up 2 that are yellowing and going away and was happy to see the root being average size for a 1st year plant and they had their growth buds for next Spring. Gonna have to plant deeper myself, my deeper planted beds are green and healthy less than 15 feet away from my shallow planted rake and scatter beds. Good looking melon there!
Yup, Didn't get any berries this year, due to the deer eating the plant... not just the seeds! also, my 3 leafers look pretty stressed, however I think we've had more rain here than there in Tenn. I estimate that I've lost about 10% of an already low germination rate.
TNhunter, my condolences for your losses. Been there, done that myself. Fortunately next year most of them will bounce right back. Guess if it was easy everyone would be doing it. I do believe the survivors are the ones with the passion and the deep love for the plant. Thank you for the great pics and sharing the highs as well as the lows of your endeavors.
I feel your pain TNhunter. I checked on my native seed bed yesterday, every four prong and probably every other three had been browsed to the stem. This fall and winter I'm gonna make a point to put plenty of venison in the fridge and probably fence over these plantings. They had plenty of time for growth this year but I would have liked to been able to see those big seed heads finish and replant the berries.
Tn alot of loss the dry weather is reaping havic that way wish your seed alot better season next year and also hope that the rain comes in soon for the sake of the wild ginseng over that way,sure sory for the loss man.
Over in this area of Tn the wild ginseng looks good,but they had alot of rain this year close to me in this area of Tn.
Thanks TN. I'm learning a ton from your examples. As for planting depth, there's no question you're right about getting a little dirt on them. A masters thesis by Susan Farrington (link below) has some really nice results of an experiment measuring germination rate over different planting depths. They found just a cm of soil on top made a huge difference (about a doubling in the germination rate). I was surprised to see that in some cases germination actually decreased if you buried them too deep, say beyond 2 or 3 cm. So these recommendations we always get to plant 1/2 inch to an inch are spot on!
How much time difference would you estimate it takes for your single vs. double rake methods? It would be pretty easy to calculate whether it makes since to spend more time to ensue higher germination rates, or to pay for more seed and not take the time to cover with soil.
It is a bit discouraging to lose all of those red berries, but I had a great time watching those seng plants emerge and grow this year - was well worth it just for that.
Would have been nice to collect a few hundred berries to plant but there is always next year and I am a bit smarter now.
I did not realy expect anything to bother the berries until the majority got red, there was only a small fraction red, but I tell you that mouse or what ever it was, sure did not mind eating green berries.
I think if I move some of those big roots to other areas, and put something like 3-4-5 together in different spots, that may help me out some. At least they would not be in one spot where one mouse or his family could just gorge themselves on my berry crop.
Building a fine mesh cage to place over them would no doubt help too. Something like 1/4 inch mesh hardware cloth should work nicely for that.
Vafiddler - I would say that the double rake method takes almost twice as long.
You first rake just the top layer of leaves over, then you rake it again and on the second time you press down hard and get all of that leaf compost layer and as much soil as you can (with a leaf rake) and rake it over and make a pile beside your leaf pile wiht that.
Then once you drop your gypsum (if used) and seed, you rake the pile of dirt and leaf compost over on top of the seed, then rake the leaves over and then walk over the bed to press all of that down on the seeds to pack them in good and get good soil contact.
Also - the issue here was not germination, but survival longer that first year.
I had good germination where I did single rake method and double rake method.
But my single rake beds have no 3 leafers still standing first week in August, where my double rake beds do have several still standing and looking OK. I am not sure exactly when the single rake bed 3 leafers expired but it was sometime between June 10 and Aug 13.