I think I know what Bob Beyfuss is saying.
I've seen places wild seng is growing but decades of of cultivated bought seed absolutley will not grow in that enviroment because of genetics.
I used to think anywhere in the woods, ginseng would grow but was I ever fooled.
Over the years I've test grown seeds in different locations that I thought were good and if they seem to do well I'd plant more the next year.
I've had a lot of failures, probably more than most but that's what keeps wild seng expensive.
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Many of us growers are therefore insane because we insist on trying to grow it in the same place and it does not grow! I don't think you can make a site good, but you might be able to make a good site, a little bit better. I have attached a suggested test planting protocol that allows wanna be growers to maybe get lucky. My stuff is all over the internet if you Google my name plus ginseng but some of this stuff I had nothing to do with. There is one video that keeps popping up \"Dr Bob Beyfuss explains\" with my picture but nothing else that I said. I am retired from Cornell now but I still do ginseng consulting.
Dr. Beyfuss, this might be a little off topic, but I've tried to locate a copy of the published study you conducted reference calcium and larger ginseng plants. I understand the general concept and conclusion, but would like to read the full study. Is it still available? If so, how would I go about obtaining a copy?
I never published anything correlating big plants with high calcium but I have certainly observed it in the woods. Of course, it is much more complicated than that. Jim Corbin from NC did publish a study he did in the smokies that positivley correlated bigger plants with higher calcium levels at almost exactly the same time I conducted my soil study. My soil samples were gathered from \"healthy\" wild populations that diggers and researchers had observed.I presented my data at the 2000 International Ginseng Conference (Ginseng Y 2 K) which was held in Leeds, NY. (Greene County) Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County, Agroforestry Resources Center (518) 622 9820 may still have some copies of the Proceedings.
Rhododendron is a \"native\" plant, so technically would not be considered \"invasive\" by people who make up these definitions. I don't believe invasion biology is science though, and I consider all weeds as simply unwanted plants regardless of their origin. Woodland plants such as ginseng or rhododenrons grow in somewhat exclusive communities that are determined by environmental conditions. Some human activities, such as acid rain,change soil chemistry that may hurt existing ginseng populations. Adding gypsum or lime may help to reverse some of these chemical changes and allow ginseng to grow better. Getting rid of certain weeds may also help but ginseng seems to grow pretty well, even when surrounded by what appears to be competing vegetation. It has been widely assumed that the presence of exotic plants hurts native plant communties but I don't necessarily agree. A recent, and not yet published study, observed that ginseng grew better under Ailanthus altissima, which is considered a highly undesireable invasive plant, then either sugar maple or black walnut. Ginseng does not seem to like to grow in the rhododoenron community and I don't think you can do much about that.
I have removed the rhodo, and have done serial soil analyis'. I've augmented the soil with both lime and gypsum, as well as a product called Agri-Grow, a seaweed product that acts as a bio stimulant to the micro nutrients, to bring the soil back from where it was when the rhodo was first removed [very low pH - 3.9- and Ca of only 500. With augmentations, of the amendments I now have ph's ranging inthe 4.4 - 5.0 range, and Ca in the 1200 range.
It sounds like you have done everything possible to improve your growing site based on the little we actually know about ginseng. I am glad you have nice plants now but it will be years before you really know how successful this approach is. Considering how many thousands of people have tried to grow it in the woods, the overwhemling majority fail. If it were easy, based on good published information, such as Scott's book, the market would be flooded and prices would plummet.
My favorite saying: \"If it was easy, it wouldn't be fun!\"
Thanks again, Bob-
I've got a new set of soil samples ready to go to the NC dept of ag, from patch one. This will be the first set after the seaweed application. I'm going to be interested in what the latest set shows up.
If you want to see some photos of my area I call \"Patch one\", look in this forum [Growing Ginseng} under the header \"My 'sang is up\"