Used as herbal medicine for over thousands of years, high-quality ginseng roots can be worth millions per 500 grams, and farmers can get huge yields using wild-simulated methods. This method is described further below and takes seven years of treatment to finally harvest, but can produce high-quality ginseng and reduce the chances of dying. You can also cultivate ginseng on artificial land for four years, but this method requires a lot of effort, cost, and produces less valuable ginseng making this type of ginseng only suitable for large-scale operations.
Part 1 of 4: Choosing a Planting Site
Step 1. Think about how you will sell ginseng
Before you start trying to grow ginseng, make sure you know how to sell it once it's harvested. One way is to contact a trusted ginseng seller in your city. You may be able to visit their shop with your ginseng with you and then ask them to weigh it and offer a price there. If you are not satisfied with the price they offer, you can visit another ginseng seller.
- You can find a trusted ginseng seller near where you live. There may be several sellers you can visit to get the best price.
- If you don't want to sell your ginseng to middlemen and prefer to sell or export it yourself, it's a good idea to find out how and the terms and conditions. You may have to fill out a form or pay a certain fee.
- You may also be able to sell ginseng through auction sites such as eBay. However, you may still have to qualify as an exporter to do so.
Step 2. Understand the wild simulation method
This method resembles the natural habitat of ginseng. This type of ginseng usually takes eight years to grow to maturity. The end result is very high value compared to ordinary processed ginseng, judging from the color and shape. You can start this process by using artificial land or tilling the soil first, but what grows is ginseng which also grows leaves and stems so that they become different and less valuable in shape.
The tillage method can produce mature crops in four years, but requires more labor intensive, greater risk of disease spread, and requires 260-520 million rupiah per square meter. Most small-scale farmers choose this method described with crop yields. which is better and costs around 33 million rupiah plus labor. These costs are rough estimates
Step 3. Make sure you live in the right environment
If you want to grow ginseng using the wild simulation method, you need soil that matches the plant's natural habitat. Ginseng grows in cold areas, i.e. areas of woody forest climate with 508-4000 mm of rainfall per year. This type of environment can be found in the southwest, northeastern United States, southern Canada, and mountainous regions of the southern United States.
If you're not sure if ginseng can be grown in your area, search the internet for information or contact your local government or local wildlife department
Step 4. Collect the necessary permits or licenses to grow and sell ginseng
Government regulations for growing ginseng may vary, but you will often find special permits or licenses, especially if you are growing it for commercial purposes. Research the regulations in your area and contact your local extension service, state farm, or other sales department for what information is needed to legally grow ginseng. You should also check for good organic certifications before planting seedlings. Wild simulation methods include organic methods.
19 states in the United States allow the harvest of ginseng. 18 of these require that all plants be at least five years old with three leaves, while Illinois requires that plants be at least 10 years old with four leaves
Step 5. Select a suitable area
Ginseng grows well in well shaded areas (especially north or east facing) moist woody forests, especially deciduous rooted trees such as yellow poplar, oak, sugar maple, or tulip poplar. An ideal forest is one that has been around for a long time. with large trunked trees and canopies that cover at least 75% of the sun. Shrubs, grasses, and other shrubs can compete with ginseng and take up most of the available nutrients, leaving very little for ginseng.
- Perhaps the best way to determine a planting site is to look for wild ginseng growing.
- Since wild ginseng is very difficult to find, you can search a suitable site if "companion plants" such as Trillium, cohosh, wild yam, goldenseal, Solomon's seal, wild ginger, or snake fern grow in the area. the internet and check if they grow in your area or ask a local botanist to help you.
- In addition, be aware that ginseng hunting is a serious problem: Be sure to choose a spot that is hidden from public view and not near hiking trails or public roads.
Step 6. Soil evaluation and test
The soil should be loamy and moist, but able to absorb water quickly. Avoid marshlands and hard clay. When you have a site in mind, take several equal quantity soil samples from all potential planting sites and mix them together in a plastic bucket. Perform a soil analysis at a state or university soil test laboratory. Your garden supply store may have a standalone tool for testing soil pH, but calcium and phosphorus tests are more difficult to do on your own. While there is some controversy about the best soil type, good soil quality is one with a pH of 4.5-5.5 (acidic soil), calcium content of about 0.35 kg per square meter, and phosphorus (P) of at least 0.01 kg per square meter.
- Soil with the right level of moisture shouldn't clump in your hands or stick to your skin when you squeeze it.
- Some growers prefer areas with a normal 6-7 pH. Unfortunately, there haven't been enough definitive studies to determine the perfect environment for ginseng, but ginseng grows adequately in a pH range of 4-7.
Step 7. Fertilize if needed
If you find a perfect site other than its chemical content, you may want to change the soil on the plot to adjust the pH or increase the amount of phosphorus or calcium. If you want to sell simulated wild ginseng instead of processed woodland, you should avoid fertilizers, or at least apply fertilizer to the soil surface instead of mixing it into the soil. Soil pH can be increased by adding lime (calcium carbonate) and calcium levels can be increased - without changing the pH - by the addition of gypsum (calcium sulfate).
- Ginseng can grow in areas with low calcium or phosphate. However, this can result in smaller roots or slower growth. Consider spacing the plants farther apart so they don't compete for the same nutrients.
- Also, be sure to test and cultivate the land once a year.
Part 2 of 4: Preparing the Seeds
Step 1. Buy or harvest ginseng seeds
Note that some areas have laws that prohibit or limit the harvest of wild ginseng; check this in your city, state, or region before looking for weeds. If you're not allowed to pick them up, or can't find a very rare wild plant, buy seeds from a local farmer or the internet. "Green" seedlings will be less expensive than stratified seedlings, but require several months of preparation, as described below.
- Soft, moldy, or discolored seeds are not suitable for planting. You may be able to return them to the seller for replacement.
- Order seedlings in early July or August and have the seller ship them in the fall. Waiting until fall will keep you away from poor quality seedlings.
Step 2. Make sure the seedlings are kept moist before planting
Do not buy stratified seeds in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Moisten the seedlings with a spray bottle once a week until you are ready to plant. If the seedlings turn dry, they will die.
Step 3. Prepare the seedlings for growing if they are not stratified
When a ginseng plant produces seeds in the wild, the ginseng seeds do not grow the following year. To achieve this, they need a year of stratification, the process by which the seedlings lose the fleshy pulp that envelops them and prepare to grow. Some store-bought seeds are graded, but if you're harvesting your own or buying "green" seedlings, you'll have to do this process yourself. Depending on how many seeds you have, use one of the following methods:
- Place a few seeds in a bag made of lightweight material, then tie them together. In the fall, plant the bag 10-13 cm below the ground. Cover with mulch 10 cm high. Mark the location well and keep it moist, but not waterlogged.
- Place a large number of seeds in a special container to drain the water and keep out mice. Make a wooden box with top and bottom layers 20 to 30 cm deep if you have enough seeds for several layers. Bury the box leaving 2.5-5 cm below the ground. Cover with mulch and mark the location. Water when the soil dries out.
Step 4. Plant the seedlings in the summer
If you are grading seedlings, dig up the container and see if the seedlings are ready to grow. Remove any seeds that are soft, moldy, or discolored. If any seeds sprout, plant them immediately. Return the rest to the container and bury it again, stirring and checking the moisture content of the sand or soil.
Step 5. Sow another seedling in the fall
Most seedlings should be planted in the fall, after the leaves have fallen from the tree, but before freezing the soil. Ginseng seeds will grow best when planted in late fall or early winter, and planting should occur when the soil is moist, such as after a rain.
Step 6. Soak the seedlings in bleach and water before planting
Unless your seeds are growing, soak them in a mixture of 1 measure of household bleach and 9 doses of water. Let sit for 10 minutes to kill some of the fungal spores that often infect ginseng seedlings. Seedlings that float are most likely empty and dead and should be discarded. Rinse the remaining seedlings in clean water afterward and take them to the planting site for planting.
You can also treat your seeds with a fungicide, but make sure it's safe to use on ginseng
Part 3 of 4: Planting Seeds
Step 1. Remove small weeds and ferns from the planting area
Do not remove all plants from the area, but small shrubs will compete with the ginseng. Ferns will make chemicals that can kill nearby plants, so remove them or avoid areas close to their habitat.
Step 2. Plant lots of seeds by spreading them quickly
If you want your ginseng to grow in any kind of wild situation, or if you have a lot of seedlings, you should spread the lips over the selected planting area. Remove dry leaves from the soil and aim for a spread of about 65-120 seedlings per square meter.
Step 3. Plant a small number of seedlings more thoroughly
Wild simulation ginseng is grown with minimal preparation and some plantation standards. First, sweep the leaves from the forest soil to show the topsoil. Use a hoe to make planting grooves. Then plant as needed:
- Plant the seedlings 15-23 cm apart from each other if you plan to have a large harvest of ginseng older than 7 years. This is the usual cultivation method for wild simulated ginseng, as wide spacing reduces the risk of disease spreading.
- Leave a distance of 2.5 cm if you have a lot of seeds and want to harvest faster. This method is usually used for ground processed ginseng because this type of ginseng must be considered and cared for carefully to avoid diseases and pests. Not recommended for amateur ginseng growers.
Step 4. Cover the planting area with leaves or mulch
Replace raked leaf litter or add a layer of mulch. This action keeps the soil moist and is essential for ginseng. Use 2.5-5cm of ground cover but no more, as ginseng sprouts will not be able to push through thick layers. You should use 10 cm of mulch if you live in an area with cold winters and frequent snow, but remember to reduce the soil height in the spring.
Do not use whole oak leaves. These leaves are too hard and large for sprouts to grow through them. Tear it into pieces first if you have already purchased oak leaf mulch
Step 5. Mark the planting area manually or using a GPS tool
You won't be visiting the area often and the look of the forest can change greatly after more than 7 years, so make sure you can find your location. The best way to do this is to use a GPS tool to determine the exact coordinates of the point. Then you don't need to leave manual markers that can actually invite hunters. If you want to mark the area, make sure that the marks you leave don't attract attention.
Part 4 of 4: Care and Harvest
Step 1. Keep the planting location private and secure
Wild ginseng is very valuable, hunters are very familiar with where this plant grows. Fencing off the area won't deter someone from knowing that ginseng is there, but it can limit people coming to the area. Dogs or other aggressive animals can be effective deterrents to hunters, as long as you also keep them close to the ginseng growing area.
Step 2. Ginseng grows at a sheer density every year
Ginsengs that grow too close to each other can spread disease between plants or compete with each other for nutrients. Consider transplanting or transplanting plants after the first growing season at 65 plants per square meter and transplanting again after the second year, at 11-22 plants per square meter.
You can plant ginseng in other areas each year in the fall to develop the on-going harvest. Many growers do this so that they have another ripe ginseng to pick after the first batch is ripe
Step 3. Do your research carefully before using pesticides or pesticides
One of the great advantages of the wild simulation method is the minimal risk of pests and diseases due to the wide range of areas. You will have a minimum risk of losing high-value roots and preventing disease from spreading among high-yielding crops. In fact, other plants can be eaten by pests easily. If you have a problem, contact your local environmental department for information on ginseng pesticides.
Be aware that you may lose organic certification as your credibility in selling wild simulated ginseng, if you use pesticides
Step 4. Wait for the plant to mature
You need to wait about 7-10 years for your plants to mature into big, good roots, but with the right planting location and also a bit of luck. Growing ginseng using the wild simulation method requires a lot of patience, but is almost unsupervised. Check periodically to see if the soil remains moist and covered with a few leaves.
If ginseng is planted in dense soil, harvest it after 4 years or when the roots begin to shrink. However, these roots would not be of such great value
Step 5. Don't expect the plant to stay visible for a whole year
Part of the ginseng will emerge to the soil surface and die back in the fall, but grow again in the spring. The ginseng will grow bigger over time and the roots at the bottom will grow even bigger.
Step 6. Harvest red berries every year after the third year
As the plants begin to mature, they will produce a red berry with the seed in the center. Take these seeds in the fall if you want the harvest to be replanted or sold. Make sure that these seeds should be planted in stages as described in the Preparing Seeds section.
Step 7. Harvest mature plants when they are past the seventh year
Since it takes a long time for ginseng to reach maturity, you may want to harvest them as soon as possible, which is usually after 7 years for high-quality roots. If you are not in a hurry then you can leave them in the ground for a few years later and they will continue to grow. If you want it as soon as possible, check local regulations to determine how quickly ginseng can be harvested.
Step 8. Dig carefully so as not to damage the roots
Use an earthen fork or a pointed shovel to dig out the bottom of the ginseng and leave a large area (about 15 cm) between the ginseng and where you pressed the earthen fork or shovel into the soil. If the ginseng isn't ripe enough, use a smaller tool like a 20-25cm flat screwdriver and use it very carefully. If there is a risk of damaging the roots or disturbing the roots that are not ripe enough, do not try to harvest ginseng, it is better to wait until it is ripe.
- Notes: Ginseng plants usually grow at a 45 angle from the ground, not in a straight line, and will branch in various directions. Dig carefully and make sure you don't damage the roots.
Step 9. Wash and dry the roots
Soak the roots briefly in a bucket of cold water to remove excess soil. Then place the roots on a single layer of wooden mat and wash them gently under a sink faucet or with a hose. Make sure the roots don't touch each other and let them dry on a wooden rack, in a ventilated room with a temperature between 21-32ºC. Humidity should be kept between 35-45% to prevent the plant from drying out too quickly and this could result in a loss of value. Turn the ginseng once a day. The roots will be ready when you break them, but it must be done on one root only.
- Do not rub the roots or wash vigorously. Some of the medicinal chemicals are concentrated in the ginseng hair roots and the removal of these hairs will reduce the usefulness and value of the roots.
- Small roots will take a day or two to dry, but mature roots will take six weeks.
- Direct sunlight will usually dry out the roots too quickly, but if you notice mold or discoloration, place the ginseng in a place with direct sunlight to kill the infection.
- Proper spacing helps prevent mold and disease problems. While you may lose some plants to disease, you may not lose them all as you might if they were placed too close together. Companion plants such as goldenseal can also reduce pest and disease problems. If there is too much mold, contact your local office extension for advice before resorting to fungicides.
- Once your plants start producing fruit, they will naturally produce seedlings every year, so you will have a truly sustainable plant. You can add seeds in the first and second years, when your plant will be unlikely to produce fruit.
- A normal population of deer will likely not significantly damage your crops, but if overpopulation of deer is a problem in your area, consider using a guard dog. Due to the wide range of this method, burrowing mammals generally won't cause much of a problem, but consider using traps (not poison) and other organic deterrents if needed.
- Beware cheap seeds. Seed collection and stratification is an intensive process that requires extra care. A reputable supplier will do it right, and you will be charged accordingly.
- Given the possible demise of ginseng, poaching, or price drops, investing all of your money into a ginseng operation project is a risky undertaking. Ginseng cultivation is to supplement your income or save for retirement. Keep a backup investment in case the ginseng doesn't work.
- Be careful when dealing with potential hunters and avoid using force or violence to repel them.
- To ensure the survival of the species (and to avoid being fined or jailed), always follow your state's laws regarding growing and selling wild simulated ginseng.