Ginseng is not only beneficial for your health; it is also one of the high-value plants that can be sold at a good price to give you extra profit. For that reason, it is not surprising if you wonder how to grow ginseng at home or how to harvest this exotic plant with correct procedure. Luckily, all the information you are looking for can be found right here, on the rest of this article.
1. What is ginseng?
Ginseng is the root of a tropical plant which originated in China. Its name derives from a Chinese word, ‘renshen,’ which means “man root.” The reason why ginseng is given such a name is that its root shape looks like the shape of human legs. In its origin country, ginseng is used as one of the main ingredients to produce herbal medicine. A traditional curative substance made out of ginseng can cure various kinds of illness.
Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, ginseng has reached North America and quickly spread all around the continent. In later years, the research of ginseng in America results in a new variety, namely Panax quinquefolius or known as American ginseng. Containing similar nutrition and benefits, this revolutionary species is a comparable plant to the original red ginseng.
2. Benefits of Ginseng
For thousands of years, ginseng root is believed to have curative powers. Among numerous ginseng benefits for health, below are some of its primary advantages:
- Serving as a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Increasingbrain function and cognitive power.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Improving erectile dysfunction.
- Restoring vitality by fighting tiredness and increasing energy level.
3. When and where to grow ginseng
Ginseng is a perennial. Thus, it is tolerant of any weather and can grow in most climates, from tropical lands with a temperate climate to countries with four-season climate. Ginseng is also a dormant plant, meaning that it can postpone its growing process without damage when being planted in cold weather.
Therefore, if you wish to harvest it in the early season, you can start planting ginseng in the mild winter, so that it will sprout and grow as soon as the spring comes.
Growing ginseng in a spot which is sheltered from direct sunlight will give you the best result. Shady places or the land under tree canopy are good locations to grow ginseng. As for the soil, ginseng prefers sandy ground with adequate drainage. Also, the soil should be rich in organic matters and has the pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 to discourage bacteria and other plant diseases.
4. How to grow ginseng at home
Although growing ginseng at home is relatively easy, the plant takes a long time to germinate and grow, and thus, requires more patience. The germination stage may take time to 18 months, while the germinated plant takes around 4-7 more years to grow before the harvesting time.
The initial step to grow ginseng at home is choosing the right planting area, including the site, the soil, as well as the environment where ginseng will grow. As mentioned earlier, ginseng likes to grow in shady areas.
For that reason, choose the growing site on a well-drained raised bed or under the canopy of hardwood trees (oak, maple, sycamore, poplar, etc.) if you want to grow it outdoors. Alternatively, ginseng can also be planted in the containers and placed in an area without direct contact with sunlight if you choose indoor cultivation.
After deciding the best planting site, the next thing to do is evaluating the soil. Note that the ideal soil for planting ginseng should be moist, loamy, and can drain quickly. The soil with such characteristics will stick to your hand when you press it, or if you want to be sure, it is better for you to test the sample of the soil professionally in the laboratory to determine whether it meets all the criteria to grow ginseng.
In the preparation stage, make sure that ginseng seeds are in moist condition because dry seeds will die and not be able to grow. When the perfect soil and site have been selected, and the moist seeds are already in your hand, start planting the seeds by scattering them with the averaged distance of 1 inch (2.5 centimeters). The ideal numbers of seeds to plant are 6-12 per square foot. Cover the planting area with mulch or leaves to preserve its moisture.
5. When and how to harvest ginseng
It takes years for ginseng before it is ready to be harvested. High-quality ginseng root may take seven years to grow, but you can also harvest it in the fourth or fifth year after the germination.
To harvest this perennial plant, dig the soil carefully using a needle-nose spade or a pitchfork. Push the tool into the ground, but make sure not to damage the root. After you have enough space, take off the root and wash it immediately. Remove the excess soil by soaking the root in cool water, and then let it dry on a well-ventilated wooden rack with the room temperature.
6. Ginseng plant care
Ginseng takes a long time to grow, so it requires some caring plans during its growing period. Here are some tips of ginseng plant care that can be useful for you.
- Each year, thin the plants which grow too close from one to another to avoid nutrient competition.
- Check the site drainage and the soil moisture periodically. If you use mulch to keep the site moist, it is highly suggested that you add the decaying leaves on a regular basis.
- Before harvesting ginseng root, you can harvest the red berries which usually grow after the third year. They can be planted in another area or sold for a good price.
- The use of pesticides can reduce the risk of disease, but it may decrease the selling value of your ginseng because it is not cultivated So, consider this point before you decide to use pesticide or pest poison.
Now that you have enough information about how to grow ginseng, you can start planning when and where to plant your ginseng plant and make a profit from selling this valuable root.