Learn to hunt and cultivate ginseng this fall
Fall is an ideal time to hunt for ginseng and other wild crops in the forest, according to Robert Eidus, owner of Eagle Feather Organic Farm in Marshall. Eidus will host a workshop on identifying, using, propagating and protecting medicinal plants such as ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh and bloodroot at his farm on Sunday, Sept. 4, from 1-4 p.m. The cost of the session is $80.
Eidus will also introduce attendees to jiaogulan, a ginseng-like plant native to China. Jiaogulan leaves can be steeped to yield a tonic tea, and the plant is simple to grow. “It doesn’t take a long time to become established like ginseng does,” Eidus notes. Workshop participants can purchase a potted plant to take home.
Students will learn raised-bed growing techniques for ginseng, including methods for fertilizing and covering a bed in preparation for winter. Eidus will explain ginseng’s special germination requirements. The finicky plant requires 18 months to sprout from seed. If a would-be grower were to simply plant some seeds in a promising spot this fall, those seeds would have only a 16 percent chance of germinating two springs from now. Using a stratification box — which nurtures the seeds in the cold, moist conditions they require — increases that chance to over 80 percent.
Eidus’ work focuses on harvesting and growing wild plants in a way that preserves the natural resource for many years and generations to come. For more information, visit www.ncgoldenseal.com. To register, call or email Eidus at 649-3536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organic Growers School hosts annual Harvest Conference
Backyard gardeners, urban farmers and homesteaders of all skill levels are the target audience for the Organic Growers School’s annual Harvest Conference. Now in its third year, the one-day event will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville.
Attendees can choose among 28 workshops on topics that include fall and winter growing, cooking, fermentation and preservation, homestead skills, self-reliance and herbal medicine. The cost is $45 for the day of classes. For more information, visit the Organic Growers School’s website.
Local, regional and national experts in food, forestry, herbal medicine and sustainable agriculture will be teaching at the event. Special guest Mary Bove will present a workshop on kid-friendly herbs. Bove is an herbalist, teacher and lecturer and is also the author of An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants and co-author of Herbs for Women’s Health: Herbal Help for the Female Cycle from PMS to Menopause. Bove practices naturopathic family medicine at the Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic in Vermont, and she works as an educator and advisory board member for Gaia Herbs and as a formulator for GaiaKids, Gaia Herbs’ line of children’s herbal products.