How Do I Get Started?
After deciding on a site, ordering seeds and seedlings is next. Ginseng seeds are small and about 7500 make a pound, costing roughly $100. Never buy cheap seed. cheap seed may be dead seed. Make sure you buy STRATIFIED seed. Ginseng has a complicated dormancy. They need to sit in the ground after they are picked, through an entire winter, another summer and another winter before they will germinate. Germination usually occurs in March in Pennsylvania.
Stratified seed purchased and planted in fall will germinate in spring. Stratified seed purchased in spring will already be germinated. It is difficult to handle because it will dry out quickly. Great care is necessary to keep it moist or the entire lot will dry up and die. Therefore, it is best to plant in fall.
One-year old roots are the cheapest transplants to purchase. They are often the results of thinnings of plantations but may be specially grown for the purpose. One-year old roots sell for between $0.25 and $0.50 depending on the quantity purchased. While these roots are far more expensive than seed, the roots provide a much greater likelihood of success. Order both seeds and roots well in advance because producers sell out very quickly.