It's good to hear of your success in growing seng, and the planting method you used to have such success. I was wondering if you had any idea of the percentage of your seeds that sprouted into plants? That is a huge amount of seeds you planted.
My largest planting, back 6 and 7 years ago in Wis. was 3.5 lbs of seeds. And of that I have about 5,000 plants left standing, which is less than 20%. Germination was not that good. I think mostly my fault. Hope to harvest these plants in the next 2-4 years.
Since then I have had about 80% germination over the last four years. I've gotten better at it, or I've had alot of luck.
I,m Impressed with how quick you can plant your seeds.
You mentioned planting Goldenseal seeds. Here is someting that is mentioned in Scott Persons Ginseng Manual concerning the benefits of Goldenseal planted with Genseng:
\"Leaving weeds alone and interplanting other native species among your ginseng breaks up the monoculture and provides a less favorable environment for all pathogens. Several growers I know plant rows of Goldenseal and/or bloodroot spaced one foot apart around the perimeter of woods-cultivated beds or simply in lines 6' apart through out a wild-simulated garden. Both goldenseal and bloodroot seem to inhibit root rot fungi. They are forest herbs compatable with ginseng and are valuable in their own right.\"
I know my 5 and 6 year old plants are growing amongst a large patch of Goldenseal and they have never had any disease.
I have thought about planting some Goldenseal root stock in my other seng beds to maybe help protect from disease.
Any way I think that if you plant some of your goldenseal seeds in the same areas as your seng, that could be benificial.
Good luck in your plantings and look forward to hear of your continued success.
I was wondering what Scott's book gave as the recommended soil conditions for growing ginseng. Is that something you could provide? I'm sure it's in one of the dozens of threads on here, but I was hoping you knew exactly where it was at. I did look at the attachment you included. It did throw out some numbers, but it was more an example of different case studies than a guide. It turns out that my local farm supply store does soil tests for $10, so I said what the heck and sent one in for a possible future plot. Thanks a million!
5.5 PH is best with a minimum of 2,000 lbs of calcium per acre and 4,000 lbs or more per acre is best. I read once where a guy said if you have less than 2,000 lbs of calcium per acre find another place to plant.
I get about 80 % or better on germination. As far as survival rate I am hoping for 50% or better over the 10 years. I have heard 25% is not uncommon when left to mother nature and that is what I am doing. I am not treating or spraying. So I am keeping my fingers crossed. I read the same thing on having Goldenseal near the ginseng planting beds. I might plant a mixed bed to see if there is a noticeable difference in the years to come.
Scott's book does not list the ideal levels of the various nutrients, except for calcium.
Based on the study by Bob Beyfuss,Scott says:
\"If your initial soil analysis shows calcium levels below 1000 pounds per acre, then add 100 pounds Gypsum per 1000 sq. feet onto the bare soil, immediately after your initial fall seeding and just before mulching. Calcium leaches out of the soil, and other woodland plants as well as your ginseng will probably utilize any added calcium. Take an annual soil sample in late winter. Whenever calcium is less than 2000 pounds per acre, top dress your wild-simulated site with 50 pounds of gypsum per 1000 sq feet of planted area just before the plants begin their season's growth in the spring. If calcium is 2000 pounds or higher, do not add gypsum, unless either your plants ar not growing vigorously, or you see evidence of disease in your planting. Calcium is a crucial element in fighting disease at the cellular level, and adding a little extra during the growing season at the 50-pound rate is not likely to hurt and might help significantly.\"
Also check out what Beyfuss had to say about low PH in relationship with calcium and phosphorous. Half way down the page under: Soil Management For Wild Simulated Ginseng Crops
I know a few of the sites I have seng growing, had soil tests showing calcium levels around 900 pounds per acre. So I broadcast 10 lbs gypsum per 100 sq ft of area before I raked the leaves back on after planting seeds. Then in the spring I spread the same amount on top of the leaves before the plants emerged. After a second soil test the calcium levels were about 3200 lbs per acre. And the plants are growing great with no disease. If the calcium level was 4000 or higher that would be even better.
Gypsum will not raise your PH. So if your ph is within the correct range, thats the way to go.
Scott says ph sould be:
\"Where the ph is in the range of 5.0-6.7, the nutrients that ginseng needs are available and bacterial diseases are frustrated, leaving only fungi to threaten the plants.\"
You said that your not treating or spraying. If lets sat your fingers were not crossed just right, and all of a sudden you have one large bed that the plants start to show signs of disease. Do you think you would take action with spraying chemicals or some of the natural Biological Fungicides? Or would you just let it take it's toll by spreading from plant to plant and possibly other beds and hope it eventually stops spreading? I think the closer they are planted to each other, the more chance for disease and the quicker it could move through them.
I have thought about this. I don't have as many plants as you, but I do have about 45,000. And I have alot of time put into them. I have not sprayed anything on my plants. But I have considered if I need to, spraying with a Natural Fungicide called Bacillus Subtilis GB03 used by many cultivated ginseng farms in Wisconsin. It is made from \"good bacteria\" found in soil. They also use it to treat seeds before planting.
For me, I don't think I could stand back and watch disease destroy my plants without doing something.
That is a good point. It would be hard to stand back and watch a bed get destroyed or even worse contaminate the other beds. I am not against spraying I am just new to this and I am hoping things work out. I have talked to many wild simulated style growers and most of them spray. I have heard if you do not know what you are doing you can upset the natural balance and make it worse too. This is one area that I am very unfamiliar with. I know the names of the sprays and chemicals they use but I have never tried it myself. I like your idea of using natural good bacteria type sprays. Its probably a bridge I will have to cross someday and I am not looking forward to it. I know it can be labor intense too but worth the while from what I am told. Especially when the plants come up the first year. The first year the many of the tiny sang plants are likely to develop \"Tip Over\" where many plants come up great and look healthy but begin to wilt and \"Tip Over\" due to a fungus at the base of the stem where the stem meets the soil and the stem rots. Especially wet spring time weather can cause this or increase the chances of this happening.
Many of my woods that I have planted in are far from my home and it will be difficult to spray them regularly. I know of one very large wild simulated grower that sprays after every rain in the spring. I am definately more concerned now than I was a month ago as I have recently learned that the likelyhood of a problem is greater than I had previously realized. But I am not going to let that stop me from planting. This is a learn as you go thing for me too. I know being proactive in growing ginseng is the way to increase your yields. However, I will have to adjust accordingly to what is going on at any given time with my situation of having my ginseng beds spread out all over Ohio in different woods here and there. everything I read says adding Calcium is a great way to make your plants healthy and disease resistant. I am really considering applying Gypsum to all of my beds at about 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Its almost like buying insurance and not only does it help prevent disease it produces great ginseng and I have heard it is hard to over apply calcium so no worries there.
I realize the more I learn about ginseng the less I know. But I learn something new about ginseng almost everyday.
Good luck everyone
I agree with you. We will just have to wait and see what kind of disease shows up and treat according to the situation. Hopefully there won't be any disease for us to treat. I know that they keep coming up with new Natural Biological treatments all the time. I think it the way to go as far as treating ginseng.
You mentioned Tip over, which is a Damping Off disease. Several years ago I lost about 1/2 lb of seeds from Pre-emergent damping off. The seedling dies before it ever makes it above ground. But that's a long story.
I've been adding Gypsum for three years now. I don't think you can go wrong by adding it, when soil tests show calcium to be low.