THE GINSENG SEED

Newsletter of the American Ginseng Society

Three Ginseng Growers Tell Their Secrets on Increasing Ginsenosides, Health, Vigor, and Quality While Getting Substantial Yield Increases

In 1996 we reported on ginsenosides and a produced called Sonic Bloom and its apparent effect on increasing the percent of ginsenosides. Recently we talked with three growers who have used the product, a first year user, one with four years', and one with ten years' use. Samples from each were sent to St. John's University, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions with the tests being done by S. William Zito, Professor and Chairman of the Dept. Pharmaceutical Sciences, lab for analysis.

The average ginsenoside count of cultivated ginseng is expected to range from 6-8% or higher with different levels being found each year. The test results for these growers ranged from 9.89 to 11.27% which has remained above the norm.

Previous tests with the ten-year user have been in that same range. All samples were from the whole root, which gives a more accurate rate than just using only certain parts of the plant like fiber only or prongs.

What is very interesting is the additional comments from these growers. They have observed benefits from the product, like better germination, higher disease resistance allowing for less spraying, longer growing season before turning into fall colors, and stronger, healthier plants from the next generation of seed.

Bill, who has used Sonic Bloom regularly over the past ten years is now growing 5-6 year-old plants that are basically disease free, with oversize seed heads.
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Rick, who has been using Bill's high quality seed for the past four years, says that since he started using Bill's seed and also Sonic Bloom, his gardens have improved. He, too, is growing 4-5 year-old plants and his yield has risen to 3,000 lbs. to the acre with a ginsenoside count of 11.27% for 1997 with three sprayings of Sonic Bloom. He said his plants are luscious and virtually disease free. His roots are of an excellent size and shape, and have no noticeable disease. He feels the quality of his garden and roots are totally contributable to the seed quality from Bill's excellent garden and the spray program he is using.

The first-year user, Dennis, commented how over the last four years he has had serious germination problems, but by soaking his seed the night before planting, he increased his germination to about 90-95%. But he says, what really convinced him about Sonic Bloom was when Dave Lemke asked him to visit Bill's gardens and he saw how luscious and healthy it was and then learned that Bill uses very few other chemical sprayings to keep his garden in that shape.

Dennis also stated that after one season of spraying his four-year-old plants, they developed larger seed heads than he has ever had and that his crop yield increased to 4,500 lbs. to the acre. Dennis had a ginsenoside count of 9.89 in 1997 from six sprayings of Sonic Bloom.

He currently commercially dries about 40,000 lbs. of roots for other people and has buyers over looking at roots all the time. He thought his roots were the most desirable- shaped and largest that he dried last year and felt his assumptions were well-founded when one buyer purchased his green roots at a premium price before they were even dried.

In talking with these growers, they noted that the cost of about $80 per acre per season for the concentrate is very reasonable compared to the cost they would be incurring with less healthy plants. The sound units are a one-time cost that is just like purchasing any other equipment for the gardens.

Currently, they are applying the spray 4-5 times a season on their ones and twos, and 5-7 times on the threes, fours, fives, and sixes. The rate of spray basically depends on the type of sprayer that is used. A grower can use his normal boom sprayer or any type of mist sprayer that he has available.

The average rate of application by these growers is about 20-30 gallons of water to the acre with a rate of concentration of 6.5 ounces per acre.

This combination of sound and foliar feed has made a positive impression on these growers. Sonic Bloom could possibly be an answer to many of the ginseng growers woes and may help growers to look at the ginsenosides in their crop as an important attribute for future sales.

-- The Ginseng Seed, 1998, Vol. 12, No. 4