Ginseng is a perennial herb that is found growing wild throughout many states in the southern U.S. It is a small-growing planting, usually only reaching about 1 to 1 1/2 feet in height. And although it can be grown successfully in USDA zones 3 through 7, the location for planting ginseng is very important. Growing ginseng requires careful planning and most importantly, purchasing quality, stratified ginseng seeds.
Preparing Ginseng Seeds
Poke holes in the sides and bottom of a 5-gallon bucket. Moisten down enough fine sand to fill the 5-gallon bucket about three-quarters full. Plan on preparing ginseng seeds in the fall.
Scoop the moistened sand into the bucket to form about a 2-inch layer of sand.
Place a layer of ginseng seeds on top of the moistened sand. Place the ginseng seeds randomly on top of the sand, but if possible, try and keep the seeds from touching one another.
Place a 1 1/2- to 2-inch layer of sand on top of the ginseng seeds and follow this procedure until the bucket is about three-quarters full of sand and ginseng seed layers.
Dig a hole for the 5-gallon bucket that is about 3 to 4 inches deeper than the bucket. Place the 5-gallon bucket into the hole. Then, place the lid on the bucket and cover the bucket with a layer of 3 to 4 inches of soil. Check on the bucket about once every 2 weeks to make sure the sand is remaining moist. Pour water into the bucket if needed.
Remove the bucket the following fall and plant the ginseng seeds.
Planting Ginseng Seed
Break up the soil in planting area to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches. Eliminate all rocks, sticks, weeds and roots from the area as well. According to the University of Vermont, the ideal location for planting ginseng is on north- or east-facing slopes that can provide about 75 percent shade.
Create shallow rows that are 5 feet wide and space each row about 3 feet apart from each other. In the center of each row, make a furrow that is approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep.
Plant the ginseng seeds at the rate of 3 to 4 seeds every 12 inches (or about one ginseng seed every 3 inches). Then, cover the ginseng seeds with about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of garden soil.
Pack the soil down over the ginseng seeds using your hands, or you can walk down each row until you are sure the soil is adequately compacted over the ginseng seeds.
Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch over the planted area. You can use sawdust, leaves, straw or bark. The ginseng seeds will begin sprouting the following spring. Typically, no more work is required until about 6 to 10 years later when the ginseng will be ready to harvest.
About this Author
Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on gardenguides.com. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.