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2433RM Ramps Allium tricoccum (6-18 months) Open-pollinated. Sometimes called Wild Leeks. This bulb-forming perennial is a spring ephemeral in my area but it wasn’t until this spring that I had my first mess of them, served up as wildwood fare. Their celebrated rapid rise as the darling of top chefs has led to overharvesting. They are now considered a species of “special concern” for conservation in Maine, Rhode Island and Tennessee, and in Québec, harvest for commercial use is banned. But with patience you can sustainably grow and harvest your own. Their delectable pungent flavor, a mix of garlic and onion, speaks to their wild nature, and satisfies our long wait. Not a good germinator; expect less than 50%. The name Chicago was probably derived from shikaakwa, the native Miami-Illinois people’s word for ramps, which grew in profusion along the rivers in that area.

Culture: Ramps are a native perennial of deciduous forests, growing best in cool shady areas with damp rich soil high in organic matter and calcium. An open-field setting is probably too dry and exposed for good germination, and the plants do not have a long life in artificial shade. Because this is a wild plant, seed planted in the spring will germinate that spring if conditions are right; if not, it may germinate the next spring. Mark your patches well and provide protection from predation. Once a bulb is formed, the new leaves emerge in early spring, before the tree canopy develops; by late spring leaves die back and a flower stalk emerges. Photosynthetic period and the harvest window is limited to these few weeks. Once established, ramps grow in close communities, strongly rooted just beneath the soil surface. Harvest carefully with a sharp knife, cutting plants just above the roots. Disturb the roots as little as possible and your ramps will likely come back. Chefs who demand the roots attached are contributing to the over-harvesting problem. Click here for more growing information from MOFGA. NEW!

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A=1g for $3.50  
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B=2g for $6.20  
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C=4g for $12.00  
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D=14g for $40.00  
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Alliums

Diseases: PB: Purple Blotch, PR: Pink Root