Seeing the large-scale agroforestry side of the business was enlightening. Agroforestry basically means ‘farmed in the woods.’ My jaw dropped when I pulled up the drive, and Mr. Harding couldn’t help but laugh. It was downright overwhelming to see fields of these beautiful plants with bright red berries… fields of an illusive plant that has consumed my life for the past four years.
Mr. Harding knows his stuff. It is fascinating to listen to him talk about the plants he loves. I really found it interesting discussing “Appalachian Outlaws” with him. For those who don’t know, “Appalachian Outlaws” is a show produced by the History Channel that glorifies illegal ginseng harvest and trade. It has the herbal plant community in outrage, and a lot of the information on the show is false. This show has caused an extreme spike in the interest of ginseng in the American public. While this means there is an increase in illegal harvest, there is also a large increase in people wanting to plant ginseng in their woods. Mr. Harding said this has been his busiest year yet, with phone calls from people all over the United States wanting to introduce ginseng into their backyards. I am interested to see the conservations implications of all of these people planting ginseng. This could be extremely beneficial to prevent ginseng from going extinct. Hopefully, the amount of ginseng that is planted and produces berries is greater than the number of ginseng that is illegally harvested.
- Know the laws for harvest in your area.
- If you are not on your property, obtain permission or the proper permits before you harvest.
- When harvesting ginseng, take only 25% of the mature three or four prong plants that have red berries.
- Around the same area of the parent plant, plant all of the seeds an inch deep.