THE CULTURE OF AMERICAN GINSENG
THE CULTURE OF AMERICAN GINSENG
By Dr. Walter Van Fleet
Ginseng grows naturally in rather dense shade and when placed under cultural conditions must be shielded from direct sunlight by tree shade or some construction that will reduce the herb to about one-fourth its normal intensity. This may be accomplished by planting it in forest beds, or, in cultivated ground, by erecting shed open to the north and possibly to the east, bat covered at the top and the south and west with laths or boards so spaced as to cut out near!; three-fourths of the sunlight. Brush and heavy burlap have been used with fair success for shading, but thin or ordinary muslin are useless, as they do not intercept enough light. Dense: shade is required in southern localities than in the north. The rule appears to be one-sixth sunlight in the latitude of Kentucky and somewhat denser south, rising to one-fourth or more in Michigan and Wisconsin. In the north, where open construction is preferred, lima beans or morning-glories may be planted on the south and west sides and allowed to run on poultry netting, thus furnishing shade during the brightest summer months.
There are many methods of construction, but the most common is to set posts firmly in the ground 8 feet apart each way and about 7 feet high above the ground. Scantlings 2 by 4 inches in size are nailed on top of the posts, running the long way of the shed. The shade is usually made in sections 4 by 8 feet long, using common 4-foot laths or slats nailed on strips 2 by 2 inches and 8 feet long. The laths should be spiced from one-fourth to one-half inch apart, according to locality, whether in the North or in the South. These sections of shading are laid on top of the 2 by 4-inch runners and so nailed to the posts that the laths run about north and south, thus giving the plants below the .benefit of constantly alternating light and shade.
For covering seed beds a rather low shade is desirable, in order to prevent the washing out of the seeds by the drip from the laths. Poultry netting covered with brush, straw litter, or burlap, made light in spring and denser as the sun gains power, answers very well.
The beds under shade should be 4 feet wide and preferably should run east and west, being so placed that the drip will fall to a great extent in the paths. The sides may be of 12-inch boards set 8 inches or more in the ground to keep out moles and held in place with small stakes. The soil should be fairly light and so well drained naturally or artificially that water can at no time remain on the beds. It should be in a condition to grow good vegetables without the addition of strong manure.
The very best fertilizers are woods soil or rotted leaves 4 to 6 inches deep, well incorporated to a foot in depth, and fine raw bone meal well worked in, applied at the rate of one pound to each square yard. If yard manures are used they should be very thoroughly rotted and in order to give the best results should be worked in some months previous to planting the beds. Chemical fertilizers and wood ashes have been used, but as seriously injurious results have sometimes followed it is best, for the beginner at least, to depend on rotted leaves and raw ground bone to enrich the soil. For seed beds the soil should be half woods earth, free from fiber, and if inclined to be heavy, enough sand should be added so that the mixture will not bake or harden even after heavy rains.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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