The last two years I have planted I planted exactly like scott describes. I just rake back the leaves, then I go back and scratch up the soil so the seeds make better contact, and then just scatter the seeds and cover them back up with leaves. It only takes me about 1.25 hours per pound to plant this way, and I got pretty good germination.
The way I have used that method is to lightly break the surface of the soil about 1/4 - 1/2\" deep with the the hound dog cultivator and have about 40,000 plants fron doing it just like that.
When Scott says to lightly scratch the soil, I don't know how deep he is going into the soil. But to say \"lightly\", I cant imagine that he going any deeper than 1/2\".
I know that 3 and 4 years ago after I would drop the seeds and walk over the bed, there was probably about 50-70% of those seeds that were still laying on top of the soil(not covered with any soil) when I raked the leaves back on. Germination rate was at least 80%. So the seeds do not reguire being covered with soil to germinate and allow the root to grow into the soil. Also I don't find any of my roots sticking above the ground. I think the root some how pulls itself into the soil so that the bud is never exposed, year after year.
It's just like in the wild without man's intervention. I believe God designed the ginseng seeds with the ability to fall off the plant and survive with nature stirring up the leaves and the seed germinating in very little soil.
I don't believe that Scott's method is a fluke or a lie. I do believe that if you follow what he is saying, it is the easiest way and yet still have a good germination.
I have made some small changes to his method. But none of those changes has made it any more difficult or any less successful.
I have always felt that preparing the areas was more work than planting. I stiil think the same about that.
I guess after planting wild berries for so long, it's hard to change your mindset.
then he explains clearing back a strip of leaves and mentions a 5'x40' strip.
Then he says...
\"Once the ground is bare, quickly scratch it with the rake again to give the soil a little texture\".
So it sure sounds like all he is doing that second \"quickly scratch\" with is a leaf rake.
With a leaf rake I doubt seriously he is doing much more than fluffing up the top 1/4\" of soil.
Then you come along and try to improve on that by using a garden weasel, I am digging trenches with a grubbing hoe or using a garden rake, stirrup hoe, garden weasel, and Jacquo is drilling holes with a auger...
You're on to something there about being preprogrammed to plant seeds versus scatter them. You hear statistics that 1% of ginseng seeds in the wild will reach maturity each year. That gets you thinking how in the world is dropping the seeds in some dirt and stepping on them much better. You're taught as a digger to plant the seeds in the wild to give them the best chance at making it.
It seems like we are all altering Scott's method, some of us a little more than others. My thinking using the auger is that it saves time. In the picture is my new plot that is ready for planting. It took me about 4.5 hours to get to this point. That's at least an hour and half quicker because I didn't have to rough up all of the soil in the entire plot. All I have done is blow the leaves off, pick up the good size sticks, and remove all the little saplings and weeds.
Each of those squares I have laid off is 4'x4'. Eighty seeds will go in each square. Using the scattering method, I would have to spread the seeds and step over every square inch to make sure they're packed properly. By using an auger, I'll have 80 individual spots to pack down, and there will be no wasted time going over ground that's not being used. Lastly, I can take my blower and cover the plot back over when finished. It's so much quicker and gentler on the back than raking by hand.
When I plant, I'll know more about the time savings, if there are any. There are also some variables like will both my drill batteries last? I have also taken into account that this auger could be a piece of junk and not do worth a darn. Time will tell. Just give me one good soaker and I'm ready to roll!
Don't forget to leave some walking paths in your plot. I have found that bed widths of 4-5 feet are a good size. That way you can access plants and other things and harvest seeds in your bed from either side. Paths only need to be 2-3 feet wide.
Check out pgs 17-18. This shows a little different than what most others reccommend but the idea is the same. you need a place to walk among your plants.
Thank you, Classicfur. That's a nice little piece of literature you attached. I planned on leaving some paths through the patch, but not as many as you have recommended. I will want to harvest seeds at some point, so those paths will be necessary. Thanks again!
This is a great forum. I just recently joined and it is great to see so many people on here with a passion for ginseng. I used to dig ginseng back 30 years ago. Since then I have dug it and transplanted it but have not sold any. I just can't dig wild sang anymore. This majestic plant is getting harder to find and I have become more of a ginseng conservationist. However I know many of you are still digging and selling and replanting the seeds as good stewards of the woods and that is OK in my book. Replanting the seeds and leaving the smaller plants will keep the ginseng growing for years to come. I know of many wild plants and I have left them there. I am happy to say no one has dug them yet and I keep planting the seeds in the same area as the mother plants.
On the other hand I am buying ginseng seed and planting it with the intent to harvest it in 10 years. I started planting it 3 years ago on a serious level. I have planted 10 pounds a year for the past 3 years. So I have planted about 210,000 seeds thus far. Last year my sang came up everywhere. It looked like a green blanket and I was amazed. I think it may be a bit to close together so I have spread it out a bit more this year. I recommend no more than 1 pound per 1600 square feet. My technique is simple. I rake a 10 foot wide strip by 160 feet long per pound. I hand rake the leaves back in neat rows. Then I scratch the surface with a garden rake. Broadcast the seed so there are about 4 seeds per square foot. Any closer than that will increase the chance of root rot and other problems. Once I plant the ginseng seed I scratch it back in with the garden rake making sure not to push the seed into a pile. Just enough to let the seed sink a little bit in the soil. Then I rake the leaves back over top the area and you can hardly tell I was in the woods. Here are a few pics of some of my rows. I think next year I will plant 1 pound in rows 10 foot wide by 200 feet long for a ratio of 1 pound of seed per 2,000 square feet just to make sure the plants have room to breath once they get older. I am going to attempt to attach some pics of the woods with the planting beds. With this technique I can plant 1 pound of seed in an average time of about an hour per pound and this includes from start to finish with the raking and planting etc. I too clear the sticks out and line my rows with them. I am 49 years old and in decent shape but it does kick me in the butt and wears this old man out. On the other hand I wish I could plant more and plant everyday. I am getting ready to plant a pound of Goldenseal seed this weekend in the same manner. It will take a lot of rows because a pound of Goldenseal seed contains over 80,000 little round black seeds about the size of a pin head. Here goes the attempt to post the pics and my next post will not be as long as this posting for sure. lol