Mmmmm... wild onions are here!

AustinApril(8b)March 14, 2005

While mine are lush and large, awaiting the "perfect" time to harvest, I can already go into the field behind my house and pick those growing wild. There's so many of 'em, I don't have to worry that their topsets are barely pushing up. By July, I can't even tell where they've been, because they all but disappear by then. But from early March until May, we get to treat all the surprised neighbors with this treasure they've never realized grew under their noses (and my kids LOVE to harvest them and act like they are the product of their personal labors).

Can't wait, though, for my first homegrown version.

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When you say "wild onions", are you talking about the wild chive-like plants that grow in lawns year-round, or are you talking about wild leeks or wild ramps?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 8:29AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Maybe its walking onions? They do spread all by themselves too.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 1:13PM
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(Shyly she responds) I'm not sure. Of course, they're mowed down, but they're awfully big. I took a picture but am having trouble downloading it.

They grow about 1 to 1.5 feet tall on average, and their blooms/heads produce bulbets. Last year, they were large, juicy and abundant, and I used the bulbets in my cooking. They were too sharp to just snack on.

They're not huge and fat like my garden onions, but a bit hardier, as I'd expect anything would be that survives here in Central Texas. They only grow in the damp, low spots in the 5 acre field behind my house, and we know of two spots we go to get them.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 7:05PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

They are a multiplying pearl onion, a smaller version of the Heritage Sweet. Pearl onions were common in early Southern cuisine and long before seed-types were around. They seem quite common from Georgia to Texas It's unknown as to how many regional variations there are. I have them from Alabama and Texas and there are a number of little differences between the two. Despite their small size, I got over a quart of bulbils from about 20 of the Alabama plants last year. Thus they can be rather prolific if left alone!


    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 12:20PM
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Oops, bulbils. Maybe mine were girls. hehehe

Looks like it'll be Monday before I can post the pics for show and tell.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 4:56PM
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the wild chive types in Ohio are foul, IMHO. Glad you have a tasty wild one!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 2:43AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

My multiplier herte are purplish color in all layers. They do divide up in fall and when I harvest the bulbils, they are usually about the size of a grape or smaller. These are seprated and replainted after the ones in soil are dug up. Mu chives have very small bulbs, smaller than a single shelled peanut, and these also produce seed heads that drop and plant themselves in fall. In spring and early summer it grows to about a foot tall and has round, thin, greens, just like store bought. I also have garlic grass/chives and these flower, then set black seeds. The greens taste like a mild garlic and are flat blades, but much thicker and wider than regular grass would be. I don't eat either of teh bulbs and only harvest the greens, but do eat the multiplier onions, and not their bulbils.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 2:07PM
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Got the pix loaded. Check out the "wild onions" at the link below -- there are three pictures of the onions (sorry about the last one being a bit fuzzy -- my camera thinks for itself and apparently liked my hand in the background more than the bulbils in the foreground, but you get the idea).

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Onion Pix

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 7:02PM
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Jan_Hobbs(z6a TN, USA)

We have those onions here in middle TN, too. I have used them for cooking before when I ran out of regular onions.

I liked your pics...liked the little boy, too, cute kid.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 4:26PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Some wild onions are good eating and some are terrible. There are several species.

Where I'm from, wild leeks (called ramps elsewhere) are gathered each spring as a seasonal delicacy. They are nothing like domestic leeks. They have a broad leaf which resembles lily-of-the-valley and a bulb about the size of a scallion. They are PUNGENT!

Wild leeks grow in wooded places. I transplanted some to my rhododenron garden and, judging from the way they have increased, they seem to like it there.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 10:44PM
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I posted this on a new thread, but figured I'd ask on this one as well, since the subject of Ramps came up.

I would LOVE to try growing some Ramps on my property - have plenty of possible sites what with 21 acres of mixed habitat.
In a couple of weeks they will start trickling into our local farmers & gourment markets, & trust me - they get a pretty penny for just a small bunch.

Since I've never seen seed or plants offered from regular onion suppliers, & since the grocers sell the Ramps whole like scallions, what are the chances that I could buy some from the market & stick them in ground as if I was planting an onion plant?

And yes, Ramps are more pungent than scallions/chives/leeks/etc., but in a good way from my viewpoint. It IS kind of odd to cook because the leaves are thin & broad like a green, not like something from the onion family at all. I like to saute them simply in a bit of extra virgin olive oil & butter, add a little salt & freshly ground pepper, & either serve them atop a steak or as a side dish with something plain, like a roast chicken.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 10:20AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

The ones I transplanted came from a spot where they were growing densely. Because I intended to replant them, I dug them carefully, including a clump of soil. I then replanted them as soon as possible.

I would think the ones being sold at the market would be in good condition, except that the roots may be trimmed off. I don't know if lack of roots would be a problem, but I am guessing new roots would grow if the base of the bulb is intact. Choose a place which has a nice thick layer of leaf mold and which doesn't dry out.

They don't multiply quickly, in my experience, so be patient.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 1:32PM
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coho(z8/9 N. Calif)

There is a comercial source for Ramp starts. However I have lost track of it. There is lots on growing ramps.

Here is a link that might be useful: cultivateing ramps

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 1:32PM
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Thanks - I'll see what the local gourmet gets in in the next few weeks & perhaps take a chance (after I purchase enough for eating, of course!).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 1:51PM
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I'm trying to get my hands on some wild onions, and wild ramps. Is there anyone who would be willing to send me some if I sent you a self addressed, Pre-postage paid??

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:02PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Wild onios are the same that gow in lawns and elswhere. Thet have a thiny bulb. If let , the will produve a scape with many tiny tiny bulbets. I have tried them many times in cooking. They are very sharp. The stem is always tough and has no use. I have never come accross with ramps(wild leeks)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:40PM
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