Wild Onions and Ramps

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Yvonne Smith, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Here in Alabama , we have wild onions that come up all over in the yards in the winter and spring. We don't have those out in Idaho, so when we first moved here, I just thought that I had chives growing in the lawn for some reason. Then, I discovered that it was not just my lawn; but pretty much everyone's lawns have the wild onions.
    They can actually be picked and used just like you would use a chive; but they do get tougher as they get taller; so they are best when harvested smaller. The tiny bulbs can also be used; but they are a lot of work digging them out of the ground for no more than you get; so I just usually cut off the tops , scissor them into thin bits, and use then in soups or other dishes where they can add flavor.

    The ramps are pretty cool, too. They look more like a very large green onion, or a small leek. We had them growing around the trailer when we lived in the country, and at first, I thought they were some kind of a daffodil or lily. Once I smelled them; I could really smell the onion/garlic odor, and i asked the landlord what they were.
    He told me that they were some kind of a wild leek, and were edible. They die down in the heat of summer; but all winter and into the spring, I cut the tops and used them in soups and stews, and anything else that you can put onions in.
    The ramps have a pretty blossom, it looks like a big round globe, and is kind of a lavendar pearl color. I brought some with me, and planted them, but we are not eating any yet; just letting them get established here first. Probably by this winter there will be enough that i can use the tops of some of them.

    image.jpg
     
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  2. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    The bulbs are pretty almost makes you not want to eat them. We have wild onions in our yards also, not as pretty as these.
     
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  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We only cut the green tops and ate those, so the ramps themselves just kept growing new tops, just like onions do. Then, when they wanted to bloom and go to seed; I stopped cutting the tops and let the ramps make flowers.
    They seem to spread kind of like daffodil bulbs do, or garlic. I am hoping that the ones we have here will keep growing and spread this spring so we can have some of the tops when they come back up late this fall. If we get flowers, they should also spread some seeds, and the flowers are so pretty !
     
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  4. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Those are beautiful! I've never even heard of ramps. I always admired the plants I have seen along the trails where I walk, and I've eaten the wild berries. A couple of years ago, I picked some pretty 'flowers', and then realized they smelled like onions, so, of course, I had to try a tiny piece. I'm attaching a pic. I think they're pretty, as well. I hope they come back this year. The city had some work done, and tore up all the wonderful old trees I loved, and so I'm not sure if the onions will be there this year, but I'm hopeful. Wild Onions and branches small.JPG
     
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  5. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Those are an old-fashioned kind of onions, and one name for them is "walking onions". I have heard them called by other names, which I can not call to mind at the moment.
    My mother used to grow them. They are unique because they make the new onion bulb right at the top of the plant. You can take each of theose little onion bulbs and plant them, and each one of them will then make more onion plants.
    While they do not seem to grow very large bulbs at the bottom (or at least the ones that i saw didn't have very large bulbs), they are a great source of green onions.
    I would love to find some of those again. I hope the ones you found will come back. Then, you can take a few home and start your own walking onion patch.
     
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  6. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Walking onions is such a quaint term. I'm going to try to remember to look that and ramps up, so I can learn more. Yes, especially now that I know there's a chance they might be scarce, since the renovation of the trails and park, I will definitely bring some home for me and also share with my local friends. I think I know of another spot where I might be able to find some of them, in case they're gone from that one area. I was surprised with how potent they were, so a little would definitely go a long way. I absolutely love that picture you posted, it's the sort of thing I would hang on my wall!
     
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