There are folks selling ginseng seed who have never grown or wild-harvested a ginseng plant in their life. They find a great deal on some ginseng seed "seconds" from a large producer somewhere, break it up into hundreds of packages, and sell them online. Many of these packages are bought by home gardeners who are thrilled if a few seeds germinate. But if you are a serious grower, you want a high germination rate and confidence that the seed are disease free and are the genus and species you ordered.
The Extension Service, university ginseng researchers, native plant and herb focused non-profits can also be great sources of information on how to grow ginseng. But they vary in their level and quality of expertise, too. Once in awhile I find a very authoratative looking ginseng bulletin online that was clearly written by someone who had never grown the plant before. They cut and pasted information from a variety of sources that they weren't qualified to evaluate. So even there, take a few minutes to look up the authors and see if they have grown ginseng in test plots or on-farm studies, or at least worked with ginseng growers for many years.
So, as we head into ginseng planting season and you start looking for seeds and someone to get growing advice from, take the time to check people out. Be suspicious if someone is selling seeds for much less than everyone else. And watch for those who advertise that you will make hundreds of thousands of dollars if you follow their advice, which they will gladly bill your credit card for.
I hope you all do plant some ginseng seeds this fall. Plant some for yourself to harvest in the future and some to give back to forest. Happy ginseng growing!!