Planning your wild-simulated ginseng farm is a critical factor in your success. You really only need to plant once so doing it the right way is from the start is very important. The site location has to provide proper shade. The soil has to have proper moisture, drainage and nutrients. The slope of the ground has to be gentle enough so that you can work on it, but sloped enough so that water can be drained away from the ginseng plants during heavy rainfall.
The layout and the method used in the actual planting of your ginseng seeds are other important factors. Paths need to be placed between growing beds so that you may walk around your farm to care for the plants. Ginseng plant beds should be in rows with sufficient spacing between plants. There are a few planting methods. A rake is recommended to rake back the leaves. You may or may not want to till the soil. This depends on the condition of your soil, that is, if it is rocky or root-bound soil, tilling would be difficult. Be cautious that tilling may disturb the natural growing conditions we are seeking to imitate. Another option is to slightly “scratch” the ground before planting the seed. You can then manually place the seeds or use a mechanical seeder. Then you can either rake the seeds into the ground or gently step over the seeds to firm the soil around them.
The next step would be to rake the leaves back over the seeds to help protect the seeds from drying out and to hide them from rodents and other predators looking for food. Covering the seeds with leaves will also help control germination of weeds in the beds as well as prevent freezing of the ginseng in the winters to come. Ginseng seeds should never be planted any more than ½ inch deep. Any deeper and the plants may not be able to grow above the thick leaves. Not planting deep enough will dry out your ginseng seeds. These methods of planting will allow the ginseng to grow as wild ginseng grows, which is our ultimate goal. After this point, future care is minimal until it is time to harvest.
In the beginning, as the ginseng grows, most of the work will be to observe your ginseng farm and make sure that it is growing healthy. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Ginseng plants are susceptible to disease and damage from rodents. Once ginseng seeds are produced, berries need to be harvested and processed. If you’re not planning on selling the seeds, then the flowers need to be clipped so that the plants can grow and the root can develop. After the annual growth-bud is set in autumn, the green leafy tops can be cut, dried and sold for use in ginseng tea.
After several years, the most work will come during the harvesting phase where you will need a place to dry the precious wild-simulated ginseng roots. Monitoring and caring for your wild-simulated ginseng farm is not too difficult and usually takes place in the summer and fall.