I've been spending just about every spare minute of the past week planting stratified seed. I'm trying to get most of my planting done before digging season comes in.
I'm sure I could get it done a lot faster using the old rake and scatter method, but it is very apparent to me that in the areas that I've been planting that the results are much better using a modified Hankins method. I've spent about 12 hours planting just a little over 4 ounces of seed. Thats probably just a little under 200 seeds per hour, but I'm only planting in the best areas. I've been avoiding spots that are too dry, or get too much sun, or it looks like voles have been tunneling there. I know that it will never happen, but in my mind I'm trying to give each seed a good chance of surving to 10 or 12 years. I know that this type of planting method would drive most guys nuts, but it seems to be a neccessity in my planting areas.
So, have any of the rest of you guys started planting yet?
P.S. I've also planted about 150 berries from my seed producing plants, but in a different area from my plantings from stratified seed. I hope to get about 50 more berries. Berry production has been horrible this year. I have seen a lot of mature wild 3-prongs that have not produced a single berry this year.
I've been planting for the past two days. I might have about two pounds in at this point....eight more to go. I'm starting to run out of prepared sites (due to planting a little less thickly), so sprayed a new area today. I planned to plant one aread that was prepared last fall, but looking at it now it needs to wait another year or so for the canopy to fully recover from the storm damage. I also plan to plant a new wild sim spot that I picked out last year and didn't get the time.
Berry production in my areas isn't actually too bad. I went in Sunday and planted something like 2-3 cups of berries. I walked a wild sim farmer's place today, and he even had berries on three year old plants in one spot. Most of the plants had ripe berries, but none had really full sead heads like we like to see. The same for mine. Most had berries, but only a few on each plant.
The seedlings at both places are just starting to go down in places. The older plants are in the middle, some gone, some going, and some still as green as they were in June.
I have finished planting all the berries that I could find and as I mentioned before, that number came to close to 800. I thought it was pretty good production for the age of the plants.
The thing that I have been spending a lot of time on since the berries ran out is to make new rows for young rootlets. As I had mentioned before , I have used a spade to loosen the soil down to about 8 inches deep and then added Gypsum . I then worked the ground good with a mattock to get the Gypsum down deep in the soil. After doing this about 4 times I then added some old 19-19-19 fertilizer; which I worked in again. I watched Billy digging in the Kentucky soil on several occasions and it is obvious that the soil is much looser there and I'm sure this helps to get much larger roots. Hopefully these amendments will help to get the soil a little more like that. Everything is going down here so the rootlets should be ready to dig shortly to place in these rows that I have been working on. It will take a season or two to see if these practices have made any difference. Let's hope they do. Good luck with your projects.
Castle, glad to hear your berry production done well.
5prong, I'm with you. you need that good soil, location and get those seeds deep. If not you are wasting time and money. From experience.
Hugh, Loosening your soil, adding gypsum and a little shot in the arm with a small amount of fertilize has to help.
I haven't planted any stratified yet but I do have 5 lbs. on the way by the 1st. Thought I might plant a few while digging and I do have some areas to work up but it's been to hot for me. Wait for cooler weather.
Now I have planted quite a few berries right back in the ground close by the parent plant.
5prong- you must be being very careful if you are only getting 4oz in every 12 hours. I hope that you areas that you are planting in really turn out well!
Whit - There is no doubt about it, very time consuming planting this fall. I've been planting around my best test plots from last fall. I've done the rake and scatter with varying results in the past, but have clearly seen better results by getting those seeds about an inch deep. I don't plant nearly as densely as what most folks do either. My personal belief is that a lot of disease problems either result, or are multiplied by overcrowding. I don't know how this will turn out, but my thoughts are that a much higher percentage of seed will make it to mature plants by these methods.
I've really been watching and learning from several different populations of wild plants the last 4-5 years. They don't all make it either. I've seen thick patches of 3 leafers become thinner patches of 2prongs and even thinner patches of 2 and 3 prong plants. I've watched dense patches of young plants succumb to blight, and struggle to survive the elements and this is in plants from wild sources. I personally believe that plants coming from comercial scources of seed are going to be less genetically engineered to cope with mother nature. But also, the problems with wild populations seem to be fewer with better spacing. These observations are the guiding force behind my odd decision making. My goal has never been to get rich from this. I've read posts on this site in the past about hopes for making 100's of thousands of dollars from wild sim patches. I just don't think that is realistic. If things go really well for me, I might be able to someday harvest tens of thousands of dollars(and I've spent a lot of time in thought and labor in this endeavor).
My main goal is to see how much seng I can get growing from wild scources. As many of you know, I have a seed bed of sorts that has come from transplanted wild ginseng plants. I have an area very nearby that looks good for ginseng, but does not have any ginseng growing there yet except for a couple of plants that I tranplanted there a couple of years ago. My goal is to see how much ginseng I can get growing there in the next 20 years. I don't think its possible for every square foot of available planting space to hold a ginseng plant. At least not without fungicides and irrigation and such. In a truly wild sim planting you will see areas that get too much light just feet away from a spot that is just right. 20 feet from where plants are growing great you will have an area that the ground just stays to dry, or too wet. This is one finicky plant, and I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I have figured a few things out and am working around them the best I can.
You have some good strategy. The weather is cooling down next week and I'm going to get with it. I've also found out over the years about good spacing and the right soil and moisture plus good drainage.
You're right about the ordered seed. It just don't have the tolerence like the native plants. The strongest will survive but the mortality rate is great over the years so you have to give it the best chance you can.