The Responsible Survivialist

First Planting of the New Year – Spring Onions
March 15, 2010, 12:44 am
Filed under: Gardening | Tags:

So I got my first plant for my new garden, though this one was a bit of “guerrilla gardening”. See I didn’t plant it myself, just rescued it from the lawn care man coming next week to mow the lawn.

Wild Leeks, ramps or spring onions (Allium tricoccum) as they are commonly called are a member of the onion family. They grow wild across the US and into Canada. They are usually found growing in lawns, bothersome because they grow very quickly, their little clumps easily recognized. I can remember as a boy, pulling a few up, and after a quick wash, eating them raw. They have a great taste, kind of a cross between onion and garlic.

spring onions in the yard

While I don’t care for the bigger red or white onions that you see so often grown, I am a fan of green onions added to my meals. When I saw these first spring clumps sprouting last week, I decided to see if they could be transplanted into pots for cultivation.

Digging them up can be a chore. The larger clumps tend to be so tightly interwove that getting the apart is hard. I recommend you look for the smaller patches. Those tend to have larger plants as well.

Use a shovel and dig down about 6 inches around the patch, then lever the block of dirt out. Carefully break the dirt up with your hand. The shoot is easily recognized. Be careful, the spouts’ roots are often interlocked and break if pulled on hard. Try working the root out, then pull downward, sliding the leaf stalk through the grass. I then used an old plastic plate to set them on until I got them back to their new home.

wild onions in a pot

Since I plan on harvesting them on a “As I Go” basis, I bought a couple of 24×6 inch planters from Wal-Mart. They ran a bit higher ($7.50 each) because they were labeled “Made in America” and have a self watering feature I liked. I always have problems gauging how much to water my plants so with luck this will help. I re-planted them in rows of 6, and left a gap between every third row. I figured that the 12 to 18 I would get in each group, assuming some will not take after the re-planting, is about right for a week or so worth of eating.

Diana Rattray at has some good recipes to use with this plant HERE.

WARNING: There is a look alike plant which is toxic. A quick and easy way to tell the difference, Your Nose. Crush the leaves and if you get the scent of onions, it’s safe to eat. Ramps have such a name for being pungent, that when I broke apart the ground harvesting my sprouts, I could clearly smell them.


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