Several years ago we planted some ramp seedlings in a shady part of our garden in hopes that they would naturalize. Also known as wild leeks, they reproduce by seed which can take up to 18 months to germinate; we’ve been told to allow five years for them to get established. To give the straggly population a boost, we planted some more ramps bought at a local green grocer. Ramps are in danger of being overforaged, and we like the idea of these being returned to the ground — thanks to Abby for the tip!
The seedlings are progressing nicely — Aprile pomodorini tomatoes in front, leeks and fennel behind. They’ve still a ways to go before it warms up enough for them to go outdoors.
I’ve heard of people foraging for ramps. I hadn’t known it was becoming a problem though. Good luck with your ramps.
Thanks, Daphne! I’ve inserted a link above to an article about ramps being over-harvested…
I love the idea of you reestablishing a wild area of an edible that’s in danger of being overforaged. Really good idea, especially if they taste good. What is it about leeks that means they take so long? Garden leeks seem to take forever to mature and these 18 months to germinate seems a tad extreme. Trying to work out what the natural advantage would be, I’m presuming they want to avoid a whole season for some reason, but why?
Good question, Liz! Ramps have a very limited growth period that’s dependent on all sorts of particular conditions. They can germinate in 6 months, but if there isn’t adequate warmth the first year, they remain dormant until the next cycle. Lots of specific info here: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-133.html
We’re planting more perennial vegetables this year, it just makes sense — our growing season is short, and perennials help us get a jump on things by coming up before our frost date. And that perennials just come up by themselves makes them perfect for the lazy gardener in me!
I was a bit confused when I saw the title ‘Ramps’ as I had no idea what they were then a quick translation revealed them to be Wild Garlic! Interesting following your link to read about how scarce they are in your part of the world. I don’t think they are here-yet…Luckily I have loads just a few hundred metres away from the bottom of my garden in the wood which I can pick. I think people are put off a bit because they come up around the same time and place as Bluebells and some people have mistakenly picked and eaten them!!
I worried readers might think I was referring to sloping inclines… it seems “ramps” comes from “rams” or “ramson,” Elizabethan dialect for as you rightly found out, wild garlic. It’s unfortunate that its popularity puts it at risk but now that I’ve read how it reproduces, it’s a wonder it survives at all. Lucky you that you have your own patch to forage in!