Ginseng and goldenseal in the forest garden
and ginseng both grow wild in our woods and are harvested for their
medicinal roots. Ginseng, especially, is much sought after,
bringing hundreds of dollars per pound when dried. Years ago, I
planted some ginseng in my woods, hoping the
$100 worth of seeds would grow into $10,000 worth of plants over the
Sadly, my neighbors came and stole the plants before they'd
matured. I don't really blame my neighbors since they probably
figure I was too much of a city slicker to know what ginseng is, and
it's hard to turn down hundred dollar bills you walk past on the forest
floor. Still, the failed experiment ensured I wasn't going to
plant any more ginseng in the back forty.
Goldenseal roots aren't
quite as highly priced, which is probably why my patch of goldenseal
(not planted by me) is still around. I'm most interested in the
medicinal qualities of goldenseal since
the roots contain a strong antibiotic that complements the echinacea
growing in my garden. My doctor sister once explained to me that
echinacea is best above the belt and goldenseal below, and a few
minutes of research confirms that goldenseal's effectiveness is due to
increasing the secretion of mucous membranes (thus helping with
problems like urinary tract infections.) All of that said, the
few times I've wanted to chew on some goldenseal roots, I felt too sick
to climb up to the top of the hill to harvest them.
Which is all a long way of
saying that when my mother gave me some ginseng seeds and goldenseal
roots, I thought, "Why not try them out in the forest garden?"
garden island around my kitchen peach has the high organic matter
and mycelium-rich soil that woodland herbs crave and has been a good
home for Burdick's
Wild Leek. I
figured ginseng outside my kitchen window definitely won't get stolen,
and goldenseal in that location will be close enough to dig no matter
how bad I feel. I'll let you know how the herbs do in their
semi-cultivated location next year.
Our chicken waterer prevents disease by keeping
your chickens' water POOP-free.
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