Congrats on getting that much planted. You took a serious challenge head on, and succeeded. I hope it is a very good spring and beyond for you. Please let us know how things turn out, especially pertaining to the different planting methods. I am a newbie with only one season's experience and hope to learn more from folks, especially with your ambition. If I remember right (not a great quality I posess), you used a seeder. I would like to resort to this method to prevent stirring up the black legged ticks.
I would say you will do good finding the wild seng growing in your area.
How the heck did you get that much in the ground? 3 Pounds in one day? Takes me a month to get 3 pounds in. I work full time, but I'm doing it from sun up till sun down at least two days a week during that time. What's your planting density? How well did your half a pound test plot come up?
I planted in beds of approx 4x50' at about 1000 seeds per bed. 90% of my plantings were rake and scatter with the other 10% consisting of garden seeder beds and experimenting with scattering on top of the leaves.
Rake and scatter in pre-selected areas goes very quick...I can easily do about 1.5-2 lbs of seed per hour depending on how hard I want to sweat.
I'll let you guys know how the beds turn out this spring...I'm particularly interested in how the scattered only beds do.
Maybe it has to do with the kind of area you're planting. I use rake and scatter as well and it goes much less quickly, even with a great amount of effort. I've been doing this for a few years now and every year I adjust my methods a bit to increase survival. Very few adjustments make things go faster, it almost always an extra step, or adding to an existing step.
As for scattering on top of the soil, the success you'll get from that will probably be less than 1%. I did some test patches my first year like that with over 1000 seeds. Fewer than two dozen of those plants are alive today, although the first year they came up nice. The loss rate was some 90% percent by the end of year one, with another 50% (of what was left) the year after.
When I do rake and scatter, I'll do atleast 5 beds or so in a row - with about 2 feet between beds. After the 1st bed, all the raking I do is covering the previously sowed bed. This can really speed things up.
On your testing of just scattering seeds on top of the leaves... let us know if you have any success with that.
We have discussed that before here a few times... and there is a fellow (can't recall the name now) that wrote of success with this.
IMO The timing would be critical for higher success rates with that...
You know when you are in that time frame when leaves are just starting to fall at a decent rate... then you have a big storm come thru, heavy rain and wind... and a HUGE amount of leaves are downed by that event.
That would be the ideal time to have broadcast the seeds on top of the leaves... just prior to that big storm rolling thru and coating the ground with all of that fresh leaf fall.
The rain would help to wash the seeds down into the cracks and crevices of the older leaves already on the ground, and the heavy leaf fall as a result of the storm would cover them nicely.
The first year I started planting seed (2010).. the fall before that I had a fellow I could have bought seed for for 35.00 a pound. At that price I was planning on giving that a try and seeing if I could time it as I described above... But as luck would have it, that next fall, that fellow did not have any seed (shortage from his supplier), and seed prices in general were up quite a bit... so I never did give that a try.
At todays seed prices, I am not about to just toss them on top of the leaves
Interesting you mentioned that TN,
In the late fall of 2013 I planted some rake and scatter method. I was beat and just before dark I took about a 1/2 lb down to a spot that had about 70 nice wild 4 prongs. I threw the 1/2 pound by the handful in a circle from where I stood. So I probably tossed the seed about 20 to 30 foot in all directions. I am going to check on it next fall to see how it went. Also there was a lot of blackberry thickets and some brush from a downed tree top. It was wet out and the maple leaves were about 50 % fallen. So I believe the rest of the leaves probably fell not to many days after I left.
I will give an update this coming spring.