Growing Ginseng: Start a Ginseng Farm

You can earn money by growing ginseng in your very own ginseng farm.


| July/August 1983


While it's not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme like those touted on matchbook covers, growing ginseng promises financial rewards that do sound almost too good to be true. But the fact is that, if you live where the climate is right, in five years (and with little capital investment) you can grow as much as $30,000 worth of the prized botanical on only half an acre of woodland!

But where, you may ask, do you have to reside in order to be a prime candidate for growing this green gold? Well, the hardwood forests of the eastern United States and Canada are ginseng's natural habitat, but it can be cultivated almost anywhere north of central Alabama . . . if the area receives between 20 and 40 inches of rainfall annually. No sophisticated techniques are needed to raise the precious crop, either . . . only a goodly portion of patience and a willingness to get your hands dirty. I grow ginseng quite successfully, though I've had only a few years' previous experience in vegetable gardening.

Pick a Planting Site for your Ginseng Farm

 Wild 'sang, as old-timers call the plant, flourishes best beneath a stand of mature hardwoods on a gentle northeast-facing slope that has thick, moist leaf litter and little undergrowth. Such a place is naturally ideal for cultivating ginseng, but the botanical should thrive in almost any well-tended, well drained but moist-location that doesn't receive too much direct afternoon sunlight. (Some growers even construct their own lattices—6 to 7 feet above the plants—to provide the necessary 75 to 80% shading.)

When prospecting for a suitable spot, I look for a few wildlings that are similar to ginseng, such as trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisae matriphyllum), May apples (Podophyllum peltatum), rattlesnake ferns (Botrychium virginianum), or wild ginger (Asarum canadense). The type of soil isn't critical to growing success, although a sandy loam with a pH level of 5.0 to 6.0 is preferable. During dry weather, however, you should check to see whether or not the soil under the leaves remains moist, without being overly damp . . . and water, if needed.

Prepare Your Ginseng Bed

Once you've located—or created—a promising area for cultivating your crop, you can go ahead and prepare the bed for it by first removing all undergrowth. (If there is a thick over story surrounding the plot, thin that somewhat to allow air to circulate over the bed.) Next, stake out an area 4-1/2 to 6 feet wide and as long as you like for the growing area, adding 1 foot along each side for an access trench/walkway. Keep in mind that running the bed down a gentle slope will encourage the shedding of surface water.

When you're satisfied with the situation of your plot, break up the soil 6 to 8 inches deep, removing as many tree roots as possible. To facilitate drainage, mound the dirt taken from the bordering trenches along the centerline of the bed, but don't otherwise raise its level. And, if your "ginseng garden" lies on a slope, join the border trenches at its top to form an inverted "V" (to divert rain runoff).

becci
10/28/2017 2:39:01 PM

I found some, thanks.


becci
10/28/2017 2:38:36 PM

Where can I go to buy seedlings/roots/seeds?


bbartz52
10/28/2017 2:38:34 PM

Where can I find the seedlings/roots/seeds to buy?






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