Medicinal Herb Planting Projects

echinacea and milkweed

Echinacea and milkweed.

Vajra Farm is engaged in test cultivation of .1 to .5 acres each of Echinacea angustifolia, E pallida, E atrorubens, E. paradoxa, St. Johnswort, Ginkgo, Goldenseal, American Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Licorice Root, Valerian and many other herbs. The Echinacea plots have been established by minimum tillage of prairie soil and the addition of crushed limestone fines. The various Echinacea species were introduced from transplanted specimens from Western Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Echinacea species have also been germinated from seed with approximately 50% germination rate. The Echinacea cultivation project has been extended to off-site gardens composed of different soil types. We are also working on the development of various cultivars of Echinacea that have high levels of bioactive phytochemical constituents.

The cultivation of St. John's Wort consists of the direct seeding of a native variety together with two varieties from separate sources. The intent is to promote crossbreeding and selection of plants best adapted to the area ecology and that contain high levels of active ingredients.

heart of goldenseal

Heart of Goldenseal.

The cultivation of Ginseng and Goldenseal is taking place in test plots in five separate locations with different soil types and terrain. These species have been obtained from three different sources and habitats. The Goldenseal has been acquired through the UpS conservation program and three other regional sources. Two of the test plots have been worked by the removal of rock, terracing and the addition of sand, gypsum and leaf mulch. The majority of Ginseng has been germinated from seed while the Goldenseal originated from root cuttings. The first planting of Ginseng roots was unsuccessful. Subsequent planting has been successful with best results coming from seed germination in plots located on slopes with better soil drainage. All the Goldenseal plants have adapted well with some plants in their seventh season of growth. Our oldest test plot of ginseng will be in its 9th year of growth.

The cultivation of Black Cohosh, Butterfly Milkweed, Licorice, Yarrow and Valerian are in the end of their fifth year with good results. We will be attempting germination of Black Cohosh in the fall in seeded plots. The last four years we have also been successful in cultivating Evening Primrose and Paw Paw. We are hoping to add some extra hands with our Winter and Spring projects by seeking and interviewing candidates for apprenticeships.



With the availability of a small, on-farm laboratory, we are able to monitor the phytochemical constituents of our herb cultivars and the quality of fruit in our orchard and vinyard. This adds a new dimension to our ability to develop new cultivars and conduct horticultural research.