Any help on where to find/how to find ginseng would help a lot or just any info at all about it would be nice. My grand father used to dig it all the time but by the time i was old enough to know what i was doing and could sit there and pay attention to what he had to tell... he was getting very sick and couldn't take me out hunting for it and he sadly past away last Nov.(R.I.P. pap) and i would like to keep the tradition alive! I have ordered some seeds to start a patch near by in the woods but i'd like to find an active patch i only know the town where he found it but not much else.
Well Mark, I have found ginseng in a variety of areas. All of these areas had a few things in common though: Rich soil, shade, and companion plants like cohosh, solomons seal, indian turnip, Mayapple and golden seal. Many folks say that the north sides of hills are where it prefers, and there is some truth to that, but I have found it on just about everyside of a hill, and have found some of my best ginseng in flat woods. The real key is to find that first decent bunch of ginseng, then things will get a whole lot easier for you. You will over the course of just a couple of years begin to look at a patch of woods and quickly determine if there will be any ginseng in it or not. You can start scouting for it in about mid May (all the tops are dead now) and marking a map where you find it so you can dig it in September after the berries turn red. Definite areas to avoid include: Dry woods that are heavy with oaks, pine thickets (generally poor soil areas, but a few scattered pines are Ok. I have found some ginseng in pine thickets but the soil there was loamy), and very wet areas.
A far as planting goes, try to get you seed in the ground before the end of February for best results. Select a site that has good, dark soil, and gets about 70% shade when the leaves are on the trees. Also, try to plant around Poplar, hickory, ash, and other soft-leaved trees rather than an area that is heavy with oaks. Oak leaves are very hard and the small ginseng seedlings have a hard time pushing up through them. If you have no choice but to plant around oaks then I recommend running a lawn mower over the leaves to chop them up, and then after planting you seeds cover them with the chopped up oak leaves. Do not plant you seeds deeper than about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, and disturb as little of the surrounding soil as possible so that the root will grow slowly in the future years.
Check the front page of this website. There are some good articles about hunting and planting ginseng.