Preparing the Site and Care
Unlike ginseng, goldenseal root form (actually a rhizome) is not very important to the sale price. For this reason, cultivation in beds is recommended.
Select a site where suitable forest cover exists, but where tilling the soil will not severely damage overstory tree roots. Remove leaves and weeds from the site. Reserve the leaves for mulch. Till the soil to at least six inches. Remove all large rocks. A bed width of 30 inches is perfect. A producer can straddle a bed of goldenseal at this width to weed. Wider beds will present greater difficulties. Raised beds aid in drainage.
After bed preparation, plant rhizome cuttings that contain a bud. Fibrous root scraps may also grow, so plant any cutting waste. Plant roots one or two inches deep and at a six to twelve inch spacing. Larger spacings require more weeding initially as well as a longer time to obtain full bed occupation; however, the cost of establishment is less. After planting, mulch with the reserved leaves. Mulching reduces weed competition and evaporation of moisture from the soil.
Instead of preparing one large single bed, multiple dispersed beds will reduce the chance of disease transmission. While goldenseal is not subject to many diseases, this is a prudent precaution.
As with ginseng, slugs and small mammals will damage goldenseal. Follow the suggestions outlined in ginseng care. Deer browsing is usually low on goldenseal.