Hi Anne, I’m trying to start growing medicinal herbs but hadn’t thought of doing so as a forest garden and am wondering if this might be the key to success! I’m keen to have a go at growing ginseng as I find it a really helpful ingredient in teas for energy, mood and as a general tonic, but do you think it would thrive in a forest garden in South Wales, UK? I’m in a sheltered south facing spot on a gentle slope with rich, free draining silty loam. We get a lot of rain and temps can go quite low (below 0 Celsius) in winter. I could lift and overwinter plants if necessary but this doesn’t seem quite in the spirit of forest gardening! Would be very grateful for your thought :-)
There is quite a lot of information about growing woodland medicinals in the USA, but I think less experience and/or interest so far on growing in Europe. A useful resource is Davis J and Scott Persons W (2016) Growing and marketing ginseng, goldenseal and other woodland medicinals. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers. For my part, I have managed to start ginseng from seed here in Devon but not successfully grown on. Ginseng is really hardy but (a) it needs good shade and (b) it is delicious for UK slugs and (c) it takes years and years to grow. So why not give it a go and let us know what you learn!
Author of 'The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook' all about cultivating and harvesting herbs sustainably, especially medicinal trees and shrubs, in a temperate climate.