Grow your own Ginseng
Grow your own Ginseng
We have all heard about the healing properties of Ginseng, but what if you could have your own supply, directly from your garden. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
Well, it’s possible, you just need patience and the know how.
Growing ginseng is a slow and long process. Reaching maturity at the end of 4 to 6 years.
Cultivated in temperate regions because it is not too fragile and adapts to both frost and mild drought conditions.
Losing all its leaves in autumn, it becomes dormant in the winter until spring. It is an outdoor plant that likes to grow closely to trees or walls.
Ginseng, renowned for thousands of years throughout Asia as a medicinal plant and is also referred to as the “Root of Life” because of its abundance of therapeutic properties. The Ginseng plant is grown and cultivated for its roots and can be consumed fresh or dried. This herbaceous perennial can be grown directly in the garden or in pots, you just need to be patient and respectful of some rules.
Ginseng Panax belongs to the family of Araliaceae. Native to North America and East Asia, where it grows in the canopy of tall trees. It’s a perennial with dark green leaves, thick and smooth to the touch, with toothed edges. After about 4 years of growing, ginseng blooms in spring and in late summer, forming small white flowers in umbels. Ginseng fruits are in the form of bright red berries, following the flowers.
How to grow Ginseng in the ground
Ginseng can be propagated by seeds, division or cuttings.
Ginseng likes shaded areas, under trees or close to hedges is perfect. The soil needs to be light, slightly acidic, sandy, loamy and well-drained. Avoid stony or clay rich soil. Sow the stratified seeds 1 – 2 inches apart in the Autumn or spring. Press the seeds down approximately half inch. If Autumn sowing, cover with a thick layer of leave mulch for winter protection and your seedlings will emerge the following spring.
Growing Ginseng in pots
Pots should be about 30 – 40 cm in diameter, with good drainage. Place the plant in the middle of the pot and fill with the remaining soil. Do not position your pots in direct sunlight, the Ginseng likes shaded areas.
Caring for Ginseng
- Water regally in small quantities
- Fertiliser isn’t needed but a layer of rotten leaves will do the trick
- Ginseng doesn’t tolerate excessive rainfall, to help in the winter months cover with thick mulch (3-4 inches) to offer protection.
- Pests are uncommon however, slugs will strip the plant. Take precautions.
- Diseases can be controlled by some preventive measures: Using disease free soil, accurate watering and treating or removing plant when it is infected. Common diseases are Alternaria blight, gray mold, anthracnose, root knot nematodes and root rot.
When to Harvest
As I mentioned, the Ginseng plant will take 4 to 6 years to mature. Harvesting should be done when the plant has at least 4 leaves and they become yellow. When harvesting, take your time to clear the root carefully without damaging. These roots are consumed fresh or stored and preserved either whole or sliced.
Preserving the Ginseng Root
Air drying in temperatures of 70F to 100F will take approximately 1 to 2 weeks. Store in paper bags or boxes, never use plastic as this will cause the root to rot. The preserved root will last 3 to 5 years.
This article won’t appeal to everyone, but I think it’s always good to try new thing and especially if you enjoy your garden.
Have a great day and take care of you and yours,
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