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Old 04-13-2015, 06:59 AM   #1
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My Story about Ramps

So, over the years I've heard so much about ramps. Whether it was through this forum, cooking shows, food network... I was almost a little embarrassed, since Im a vegetarian, and I had never even heard of them or seen them, let alone tried them.

Any time I went to the grocery stores, nothing. local farmers markets, nothing. So being an avid gardener, I figured I'd find some seeds somewhere and try to grow them myself. I did my research just to find out that they are typically found in the wild and are very very difficult to grow from seed.

Luckily, I scored myself some seeds, cause I figured I'd give it a try. I then saw the sowing instructions, and I was discouraged.

Sowing Instructions
Although ramp seeds can be sown anytime the soil is not frozen, late summer to early fall is usually considered the best time for seeding ramps. Fresh ramp seeds have a dormant, under-developed embryo. The seed requires a warm, moist period to break root dormancy and a subsequent cold period to break shoot dormancy. Some years there is enough warm weather after sowing in late summer or early fall to break root dormancy. The following winter cold breaks shoot dormancy and the plants emerge in spring. If there is not an adequate warm period after sowing, the seed will not germinate until the second spring. Thus, ramp seeds can take 6 to 18 months to germinate. Being able to provide adequate soil moisture and protection from wildlife are other key factors in determining where and when to sow seeds. Production from sowing seeds to root harvest can take 5 to 7 years. ( These were instructions I found online, but the ones included with my seeds instructed me to put them in the refrigerator for a few months , then take them out. Soak warm them, soak them, spread them under the leaves in a shady are with specific trees ....)

Anyway, my patience to try ramps was wearing thin,so I looked further on the internet, and saw I can order a bunch of ramps that would be overnighted to me . I was excited, I was finally going to get to try something that I had only heard about before. I ordered them. They arrived as promised. When I opened the box, I saw the nicest, freshest ramps. I was shocked they were in such good condition. There were so many, I knew I wouldn't be able to eat them all before they spoiled, so I got this brilliant idea. let me plant all the extras outside , in a shade area under the trees, in the leaves blah blah blah. I figured what do I have to lose.

I went outside and did just that. They looked good the first few days, then one after another they shriveled up and died. needless to say I was disappointed, but at least I had the opportunity to try them. They were good ( not great), but I only tried a few things ( I don't remember exactly what I did cause it was last year). I would love to have them more readily available so I can do more culinary experimenting with them.

So, for all you who stuck with through to read al the above crap, wondering what the point of my story was, now that the snow finally melted, the landscapers did a spring clean up and blew way all the leaves from my property, I did my early spring stroll through my yard to get and idea of whats going on. I see a bunch of small plants sprouting through the dirt. I couldn't figure out what they were, since they were only up about an inch or so. I didn't think much about it. A few days later ( yesterday) I did a second stroll and the plants were twice as big, and I was still curious as to what they were, then it hit me, could it be ??? So I plucked off a leaf, smelled it, was kind of oniony. Took a taste, and sure enough, it was a ramp. All the ramps I planted survived ( and then some). I would say there are over 5 dozen healthy young plants. I was ( and still am) so excited.

Sorry I bored anyone who made it to this point but I had to tell someone.

Larry

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Old 04-13-2015, 07:20 AM   #2
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Cool and Congrats on your sprouts! I've always wanted to try ramps too but have never seen them in S Florida. Guess I'll have to go the order route but I don't think I'll be as lucky as you to get them to grow down here.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:43 AM   #3
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After all that I hope you enjoy them!

We can get them at the local farmers market for a couple of weeks each spring. To me they are kind of a cross between garlic and a scallion. The only way I have ever eaten them is sauteed in olive oil with a couple of beaten eggs scrambled into them. I'm curious to hear how you decide to fix them.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:54 AM   #4
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Larry, you have just turned into a successful farmer. Enjoy those ramps. I just hope they don't take over your whole property. Will they multiply on their own? Or are they a one season crop only?
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addie View Post
Larry, you have just turned into a successful farmer. Enjoy those ramps. I just hope they don't take over your whole property. Will they multiply on their own? Or are they a one season crop only?
Since they are mostly found wild, I'd have to say they'll grow on their own just fine.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:23 AM   #6
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Your story wasn't boring at all, Larry. I've no experience with ramps, but my late husband, who grew up in Western North Carolina, once told me that some of the children in his school were made fun of because of their oniony breath. It came from eating ramps growing wild in the countryside. He said sometimes that was the main thing those children had for food.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
Since they are mostly found wild, I'd have to say they'll grow on their own just fine.
Yeah, and if they were able to survive the winter we just had ( colder snowier and longer than usual), then I'm guessing they are here for good. Im not exactly sure how they reproduce, if its a bulb thing or flower thing. I haven't looked it up yet, but there are definitely more now than I planted last year.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:56 PM   #8
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I Love ramps. I lived in western NC for many years and the appearance of ramps every year was a greatly anticipated. They grew wild in some locations and we would dig them or buy someone else's diggings at a road side stand. Having had cultivated ramps in recent years however has been disappointing. They are much milder, tame.. even. Still totally delicious though.

We sauteed they with potatoes and served them up for breakfast most often. Ramps and wild mushrooms on a steak wasn't bad either although they appeared in different seasons so usually the mushrooms were store bought.

Wild ramps could be potent and seemed to seep out of your pores for a couple of days after eating ;)

Your experience gardening is inspiring and I was unaware they could be reasonably cultivated. Where did you get the seeds?
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:33 PM   #9
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Very interesting read Larry! For some reason I was thinking fiddleheads when you said ramps, both I've never tasted. So Mr.Google told me ramps are wild leeks, and these are the images I found. ;-)
ramps Pictures
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:44 PM   #10
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I love fiddleheads too. Not that they have that unique of a taste, but definitely a conversation piece when cooking / eating them. I come across them every now and then in higher end grocery stores or farmers markets.
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