This study analyzed growth patterns, biological compounds, antioxidant properties, ginsenoside contents, metabolites, and the annual net production of ‘Yunpoong’ and ‘K-1’ to find the optimal harvesting time of ginseng sprouts.

One-year-old ginseng seedlings were cultivated in a container-type vertical farm under a temperature of 20 °C, a humidity of 60%, and average light intensity of 46.4 µmol m−2 s−1 (16 h photoperiod). Growth patterns at 2, 3, 4, and 5 weeks after transplanting (WAT) differed between cultivars.

Regarding biological compounds and antioxidant properties, ‘Yunpoong’ took 5 WAT (43.59%; 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazine-hydrate radical scavenging activity, 1.47 OD593nm; ferric reducing antioxidant power assay, 78.01%; 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical scavenging activity), and ‘K-1’ took 4 WAT (0.98 Re mg g−1; total flavonoid contents, 35.93%; DPPH) to show a high content.

Two cultivars showed the highest total ginsenoside contents at 5 WAT. Most of the analyzed metabolites had a higher content in ‘Yunpoong’ than in ‘K-1’. In both cultivars, it was confirmed that the longer the growth period (3 − > 5 WAT), the lower the yield and the annual ginsenoside net production.

Therefore, ‘Yunpoong’ and ‘K-1’ cultivars should be grown as ginseng sprouts in the vertical farms for approximately 3 WAT and 4 WAT, respectively.

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