I was looking thru some of my 2014 ginseng pictures last evening and ran across this one of me seed bed. This was first week in August.
I established my see bed on a north east facing hillside. I broke up a 14' x 8' spot 4-5\" deep with a grub hoe. Then I raked the 8' wide part towards the center to end up with a hilled up (raised) bed that was 14' x 5' or so.
That left some good drainage ditches on each side of the bed... with the bed itself being raised up 4-5\" above the rest of the ground in that area.
My dirt in that area was nothing special... just your average woods soil.
I added to it, composted peat moss (garden magic brand).. and I also went to a hollow that grows very good ginseng - that has rock chip filled soil that the seng just loves... and I brought home 6 (5 gal buckets) of that seng loving rock chip filled soil... and added that to my seed bed.
I added some Bone Meal, Epson Salt and Gypsum and a little blood meal (not too much this is high in N)... and later on added some green sand (lots of good trace minerals).
Before I planted the roots in there that I had collected, I cut some gypsum board in narrow strips and laid them across the bed too. So each row of roots planted, had a strip of gypsum board above and below it. Over time the gypsum board will break down releasing gypsum into the soil (calcium).
The roots I planted were all wild roots, with age, and good size and they have done well, growing in size a LOT over the past 3-4 years.
I have some pictures of when I created the bed and I will try and find some of those and post them next.
Here is a pic that shows the shape of the bed after I had broke up the ground and then hilled it up.
It was bad dry that fall as you can see from how dry the dirt looks. I had to water that bed really good before planting my roots in there. But this was just with the dirt that was on site and you can see the shape of it.
Notice I have the bed laid out so that it runs up and down the hill, so in heavy rains or extended wet weather, the extra moisture can easily drain off the bed into the ditches and then go on down the hill.
This next picture shows the bed after I had added some composted peat, and other organic fertilizers mentioned earlier and 30 gallons of that rock chip filled soil. I worked all of that into the top 4-5 inches and then raked the bed smooth again and shaped it up like I wanted it.
I still had not watered it at this point so it was still very dry.
In the last two pictures (including this one taken in winter after a snow)... you can see that I put a fence around the bed.
Not long after I had made the bed, before even planting roots in it, there were deer and turkey tracks in the bed.
I guess they were just curious and had to get over there and walk around on it and check it out.
well... that made up my mind real quick that I was going to put a fence around it. It is nothing major, just a 4' tall chicken wire fence. But I have not had one single top browsed, and no turkey scratching in my seed bed and both of those critters are all around my place here. so that small fence has done a good job of protecting them.
PS... the PH in my seed bed was good... in the 5.8 range, but my calcium was lower than ideal.
That is why I was adding gypsum, and gypsum board and bone meal to my bed.... and all of that rock chip filled soil.. Did all of that to help boost my calcium levels. I would say it has worked, because they have grown well.