by bullen proof retirement
In the first fall, you plant seed. The following spring it comes up.
For the first two years, there is very little to observe, because the plants are so young. The main danger is from vermin, and traps and poison work wonders. A weekly walkthrough will identify problems and allow you to deal with them. Problems are easy to deal with and all is right with the world.
It isn't until the 3rd year that the plants become even marginally worth digging, but at this point you'll need to do at least a bi-weekly walkthrough to keep an eye on them. What you're looking for is evidence. Evidence in the form of dying plants, strange colors, strange smells and missing plants will tell you that you've got a problem.
Starting in April of year 4 or 5, you will need to monitor your growing areas at least once every three days. By year 8 you'll need to walk through every other day, especially in the early fall.
As the plants get older, the problems associated with vermin fall off, and the problems with disease becomes more of a threat. The plants are getting bigger and as they grow closer together, the possibility that pathogens such as alternaria and phytophthora could cause a problem gets a bit more "real" than when they were small.
Once the plants are mature, though, the major danger is theft. It is impossible for someone to dig any significant amount of ginseng without making a mess... and at the very least leaving suspicious gaps in the rows. Regular inspection is the key, because you'll notice anything out of the ordinary immediately. The trick is to be so used to what the growing areas look like that you notice when something changes.
April through early November is 7 months, and that's about 221 days. Every three days is 72 days, and a two hour inspection tour every three days would come out to 144 hours a year.
If you're making an inspection tour every other day, two hours a day, that's about 222 hours a year, give or take a few.
But, what if it only takes you an hour to make the tour of the growing areas? One might ask if you're doing a good job. How long would it take you to walk through a 10 acre growing area that is spread out across several hollows and hillsides, taking care to LOOK at each row and section? You can do it walking (great exercise), riding in a golf cart (more comfortable), or riding a horse (more fun).
If you take the time to do a thorough tour of the growing areas, walking in and out of each growing plot, you'll spend the entire day just looking at the ginseng plants. This should be done at least monthly in the growing season, to make sure small problems are caught when they're still small problems. It's time well spent.
The point is, how much time would you invest in any other business that was going to cash out at this kind of profit?