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Buying Legal Ginseng Seeds
Ginseng is a protected plant in most areas of the country and most states have laws that dictate how and when ginseng can be grown, harvested and sold. Ginseng is most often grown from seed that has been stratified, or kept cold, for at least a year. The roots are harvested after five years, so growing ginseng is not an overnight success story and takes time and effort to produce a saleable crop. According to the North Carolina State University Extension Service, ginseng seed is best planted in the fall before the first frost.
Visit your counties Agricultural Extension Office. The extension agents can help inform you of the laws of your state regarding ginseng, determining if your property will support ginseng growth and possibly give references for reputable ginseng seed dealers.
Talk with as many seed dealers as you can. Prices for ginseng seed vary wildly and the lowest price may not be the best seed to purchase. As in all ventures, not all ginseng seed dealers are reputable.
Ask if the seed has been stratified. If not, move on to the next dealer. A good clue to this is if the dealer offers to ship immediately in the spring or summer. Ginseng seed is most often shipped in the early fall.
Have your beds prepared, whether doing cultivated or wild-simulated ginseng, before your seeds arrive.
Order the seeds. Depending on the planting method, it will take between 10 and 50 pounds of ginseng seeds per acre of land to be planted.
Words to the Wise:
Wild ginseng commands the highest prices in the market as of 2010.
Ginseng prefers a woodland site with gentle slopes for drainage. In general, if sugar maples or tulip poplar trees grow well in the area, so will ginseng.
If you plan to grow ginseng on your property, be sure and think about security. Ginseng poaching is a problem for most ginseng farmers.