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How to Grow Ginseng From Seeds

Anthony Hall

Ginseng is an herb that is used for medicinal and health purposes all over the world. Said to relieve fatigue and improve concentration, many companies sell it in tablets, powders and teas. The Chinese believe carrying a ginseng root in your pocket will give you good luck and it's even better if the root resembles the shape of a human body. Ginseng is a valuable commodity, and the value grows each year. Ginseng is relatively easy to grow. Start with a small patch. Add a little each year.

Select an area for your seeds in a shady area of your yard. If you have woods on your property, that will work even better. They should be planted in September through February. Ginseng will grow in zones 3 through 7, and it might grow in zones 2 and 8. (See resource for Zone map)

Dig rows 8 to 10 inches apart and only about 1/2 inch deep. Place the seeds 4 to 6 inches apart in the rows. Cover with dirt that is mixed with leaf mulch.

Water the seeds. Cover with about an inch of leaf mulch, or you can use the natural leaves in the area as long as they are not Oak. Oak leaves are too large for the small plants to push aside.

Keep the plants from drying out completely. The seedlings will have 3 leaves the first year they come up. By the third year, they will have 5 leaves on the plant. The plants do not grow leaf tops each year, but the roots continue to grow.

Fertilize in the spring as the growing season starts. You don't need to do anything during the winter except keep the mulch on them. The ginseng takes 4 to 5 years to be ready to harvest. You can collect the seeds from the plant each year and store them in damp sand for a year. You may then plant them.

Harvest the root when ready and rinse off right away. It is not necessary to scrub the root as this will take off the protective outer cover. Lay them on a screen to dry out, but not in direct sun. Roots can take up to a few days for small ones and a few weeks for large ones.

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