Watauga Extension Offers Ginseng Production Workshops in September & October

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*Written by Dr. Jim Hamilton, Watauga County Extension Director*

If you own mature forestland (or a nice wooded backyard) with a little slope, moist soil, and good drainage, ginseng may be a viable way to produce income from your underutilized woods. The High Country has ideal growing conditions for this valuable forest medicinal plant. Ginseng can be a tricky plant to grow successfully and takes between 8-10 years to reach a size favored by the Asian markets to which it is exported. However, the market for ginseng is fairly stable and has averaged around $700 per dried pound over the last few years. Ginseng is a native forest plant whose roots have been traded in Appalachia for hundreds of years.

Cooperative Extension will be hosting three field demonstration workshops on wild-simulated ginseng production in September and October at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone.  Dr. Jim Hamilton will provide an overview of ginseng production and field demonstrations on how to successfully plant and cultivate wild-simulated ginseng.

Topics will include:

  • Background on ginseng
  • Site selection, soil fertility requirements, & companion plants
  • Site preparation & planting
  • Pests and Production issues
  • The market for ginseng

Wild Simulated Ginseng Production
Thursday, September 21 @ 4pm-6pm;  20 participants max
Thursday, September 28 @ 4pm-6pm;  20 participants max
Thursday, October 5th     @ 4pm-6pm; 20 participants max

Cost to attend the workshop is $75. Participants will receive a half pound of stratified ginseng seed. Additionally, copies of “Growing & Marketing Ginseng and other woodland medicinals”—will be available for an additional $25. Space and seed is limited to the first 60 paid registrants. Registration and payment is required in advance.

Please call or come by the Watauga County Extension Office to register for workshop sessions. Checks may be made out to Watauga County CES. It is optional, but recommended that you send in a soil sample of the area you are thinking about planting and bring your soil report to the workshop. Additional seed may be available upon request.

This workshop series is made possible through a grant from the NCDA North Carolina Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and PHARMN (Preserve Heritage Agriculture & Regional Markets Now…www.pharmn.org) and the Cooperative Extension Innovative Grant Program.

For more information, contact Dr. Jim Hamilton at the Watauga County Cooperative Extension at 264-3061 or at [email protected].

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