While my goal is to only grow Italian originated plants America does have one botanical treasure that the Italians don’t have… ramps!
Ramps are a type of American wild leek that taste like a cross between a garlic and an onion. They are extremely pungent but at the same time have an exquisite earthy flavor. As you cook them they get milder and develop that delicious garlic/onion flavor. You can find out more about ramps here.
I was able to source about a 100 ramp bulbs from a farm down in West Virginia (Mail order only). I just got them a few days ago and today was a perfect day to plant them. Since my garden is already allocated to the max with future plant homes, I decided that the best way to grow these ramps was in one of the available 4×4 raised beds I had. All I did was dig my trowel about 7 inches deep into the soil and moved it left to right in order to make a ‘V’ shaped well for the ramp bulb. I kept the spacing pretty close as I want the bed to get filled with ramps. Once the bed is established I plan to take chunks of ramps and transplant them out to other areas of the property other than the garden.
You can order ramp bulbs here.
I hope this message finds everyone well and in good health. I want to thank all of you for your emails of concern when southern West Virginia was experiencing the devastating flooding a few months ago. My home and family stayed dry, but I had a lot of friends that were not so lucky. That being said, let’s push 2016 out of here and get ready for a brand new year.
And since we are close to the beginning of a new year, I have some excellent news to share with you. Ramps bulbs are shipping for fall of 2016. Since the weather has been unseasonably nice so far, you will be able to plant these guys now and they can wait out the spring underground. Expect to see them popping up out of the ground around the first week of April.
You can find the order page by clicking here.
Now that ramp season is behind us, I find myself with a lot of time to read. Here are the latest two books that I read and I wanted to share them with you. I really enjoyed reading these books and I feel that you will enjoy them also.
The first one is Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forests.
And the second one is The Art of Cooking Morels.
I highly recommend these books! I have thoroughly enjoyed them.
Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, ornamental ferns, and more. Comprehensive information is also offered on historical perspectives of forest farming; mimicking the forest in a changing climate; cultivation of medicinal crops; creating a forest nursery; harvesting and utilizing wood products; the role of animals in the forest farm; and how to design and manage your forest farm once it’s set up. This book is a must-read for farmers and gardeners interested in incorporating aspects of agroforestry, permaculture, forest gardening, and sustainable woodlot management into the concept of a whole-farm organism.
Morels have captured the imagination of America’s cooks: more than any other mushroom, they entice chefs to forage in the wilderness each spring, attempting to find the treasured, honeycombed fungus in its hiding places in the wild. In The Art of Cooking Morels , Ruth Mossok Johnston brings together more than 80 recipes for this delicacy, suitable for cooking with fresh mushrooms in season or dried year-round. The recipes, accompanied by stunning full-color illustrations, offer options for appetizers, soups, entrées, and side dishes from simple and elegant to exotic and sophisticated, and always mindful of highlighting the delicate morel. Johnston’s recipes are heart healthy, inventive, and delicious. The author also includes instructions for handling, storing, and preserving morels.