A special thanks to Tanner Filyaw, Rural Action, for background and source material. Used with permission.
Ramps are a species of wild onion that is native to the eastern North American mountains. They prefer rich, moist, shady soils under tree species such as maple, oak, hickory, buckeye, beech and birth which means they are commonly encountered in Hocking County.
I personally grow a bunch of different onion varieties but these have several unusual cultivation characteristics if folks want to propagate them.
And we should. Ramps have increased in popularity in recent years as a foraged local food for both home use and restaurant use. The primary source for ramps has been harvest off of public land with little thought to sustainability and this has negatively impacted ramp population in the wild.
A study of the ramp life cycle is important to understand the challenges of propagating this plant.
Ramp Life Cycle –> Ramp Life Cycle Calendar-wl0p66
- From divisions/transplants – be gentle, can purchase plants or divide mature clumps in spring. If divide clumps, harvest no more than 15% of the clump. ( I have seen as few as 5% recommended)
- From seed – can sow anytime, BEST time is late summer to early fall. Can take up to 18 months to germinate! Total time to harvest from sown seed can be 5-7 years.
Ramp seed sources:
Awesome ramp cultivation links:
- USDA Ramp Agroforestry Factsheet
- Appalachian Sustainable Development Factsheet –> Ramps_ASD-1qpod6f
- NC State Extension Ramp Cultivation factsheet