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How to Plant Ramps

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How to Plant Ramps

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Overview

Ramps are wild leeks, sometimes called wild onions, with a flavor and scent that is a mix of onion and garlic. Ramps prefer to live in deciduous forests and experience most of their growth in spring, with the leaves dying back and a flower stalk appearing in summer. Ramps are celebrated for being one of the first foods to arrive each spring, providing a fresh green vegetable after winter.

Preparation

Step 1

Look for an area with tree cover. Ramps naturally occur under poplar, birch and beech, as these trees offer the soil conditions that favor growth--soil that remains moist most of the year and contains a high percentage of organic matter.

Step 2

Clear a shady area of leaf cover and competing weeds. The presence of other shade-loving forest plants is a favorable sign that ramps will flourish.

Step 3

Dig wild bulbs in spring to transplant, or purchase bulbs. Plant bulbs 3 inches apart and 3 inches deep. Space rows of bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart. Leave the tip of the bulb visible, at the same level as the surrounding soil.

Step 4

Harvest wild plants and bring them home to prepared areas to transplant. Plant at the same depth at which you found the plants.

Seed Propagation

Step 1

Collect seeds in the late summer or early fall. Store them away from light and heat for later planting.

Step 2

Plant seeds in your prepared area in rows 3 inches apart, or scatter seed directly on top of the soil. Cover by patting the seeds into the soil. Water the soil until it is moist but not saturated.

Step 3

Protect newly planted seeds by covering them with several inches of leaf litter or compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Small shovel
  • Rake

References

  • North Carolina State University--Cultivation of Ramps (Allium Tricoccum and A. Burdickii)
  • Cultivating Ramps: Wild Leeks of Appalachia
  • Appalachian Forest--Plants to Watch

Who Can Help

  • The Marked Tree--The Art of Grazing / Wild Onions
  • Ramps
Keywords: wild leeks, ramps, leaf mulch

About this Author

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.