Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Our Chinese Medicinal Herb Test Plots are Doing

A number of people have been asking about the six Chinese Medicinal Herb Test Plots that we have in western North Carolina.  These test plots are part of a multi-agency project to develop some new alternative crops for western North Carolina. The Alternative Agriculture Workgroup (AAW) is a cooperative effort in Western North Carolina to address the issues of the supply and quality of herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Participants include community colleges, state universities, the extension service, private businesses, and interested landowners.  This initiative has worked to identify economically viable Chinese herbs that grow well in this climate and that have a base for analysis in current research.  In spring, 2010, test plots were planted in WNC to cultivate these plants.  These locally grown herbs will be evaluated for how well they grow, their quality, and how they compare to imported samples from China.
Here are some pictures of some of the plants that we are growing this year at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, which is one of the six locations.  We have some of the plants in the full sun and some in the shade.  As you can see, some plants are doing great, and some, not so good.

Harvesting Chinese catnip

Putting the Chinese catnip in the herb dryer

Anemarrhena Zhi Mu in mid-July

Angelica Dang Gui in mid-July

 Astragalus Huang Qi in mid-July

Chinese skullcap Huang Qin in late July

Chrysanthemum Ju Hua in mid-July
Goji Berry Gou Qi Zi in mid-July

Gynostemma Jiao Gu Lin in mid-July

Lobelia inflata in mid-July

Peonia Bai Shao in mid-July

Pinellia in mid-July

Polygonum He Shou Wu in mid-July

Salvia milteriza Don Shen in mid-July

Schizandra Wu Wei Zi in mid-July