This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
We have a question from Malaysia -- really, two questions. How is ginseng grown and harvested in the United States? And is it used as a traditional medicine by Americans or just Asian-Americans?
Some growers of American ginseng say it takes five to ten years to produce the best roots. Ginseng can be grown from seeds or roots. The seeds take two years to sprout up through the ground. Many growers like to start with two to three year old roots instead. A warning: the root must not be cut into smaller pieces. It has to be whole to grow.
Ginseng needs a place where it will not get much sunshine. It does well in areas of eighty percent shade. It especially likes to grow in forests. The soil should be full of loam, a mixture of sand, silt, clay and organic material.
American ginseng grows naturally in forests in many eastern states. But wild populations have been reduced by too much harvesting.
Growers can plant the roots during spring before they develop buds. If the roots are planted in the fall, they should be left alone until the following spring. Weeding and watering are not needed during that time. But the plants should be protected from wildlife.
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