Monday, April 6, 2015

Let's Grow Ramps!!

My first ramp research plots.
"In 1998, when I first started growing ramps, there were only a few individuals in North America producing ramps for commercial purposes. I relied heavily on their experiences to initiate my own successful ramp cultivation efforts and studies. Since that time we have learned a great deal about them, and people are successfuly growing ramps all over North America." That is the opening paragraph in Chapter 15: Ramp Growing Instructions: Methods, Care, Protection, Harvesting and Marketing in our book "Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals". This is ramps season and this is the perfect time to start growing your own ramps. The way I got my first ramp patch started was to buy ramps at a ramps festival and plant them out.

As described in that same chapter, "Choose an appropriate planting site, as described earlier [in the chapter]. Rake off the leaf litter, till the soil, add any needed amendments, and work them in. Make raised beds if you plan to do so. To plant your bulbs or transplants, dig little trenches 4-5" deep across your beds or planting areas. Spacing these trenches 4-6" apart gives the plants some room to multiply. I make trenches by simply dragging a hand trowel across the bed. Set dormant bulbs approximately 3" apart and 3" deep, with the growing point facing up. Cover with soil so just the very tip of the bulb shows above the soil surface. Transplant leafed-out plants the same depth they had been growing. Finally, cover both bulbs and transplants with several inches of mulch. Transplants will usually reach harvestable size in four to six years."

The chapter includes two growers' stories. The first one is about the Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association. Here is a short video (link) of them explaining how to sustainably harvest ramps. The second story is about Glen Facemire of Ramp Farm Specialities in West Virginia. In 2008, Glen wrote and published a wonderful little book on ramps called "Having Your Ramps and Eating Them, Too." You can order it through his website (link) and I highly recommend it.

All this information and so much more is available in my book "Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals". You can order it now by clicking on one of the shopping cart buttons on the right.