YouTube Channel Ramp Series

Forest Farming November 15, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Research Forest Products Technologist, Dr. Jim Chamberlain, reviews the steps taken to manage and cultivate ramps, or wild onions. In this video series, the proper soil, shade and forest type are all considered prior to constructing a raised bed for planting ramps under the forest canopy.

Spring is the time to harvest ramps, a popular forest vegetable in the eastern United States. This savory plant is a member of the onion family closely related to leeks. In early spring, ramps send up smooth, broad, lily-of-the-valley like leaves that disappear by summer before the white flowers appear. The whole plant is edible and has a garlic-like aroma and is usually three or more years old when harvested.


Dr. Jim Chamberlain explains what kind of soil and how much sunlight ramps need in order to thrive. Generally, hard wood forests provide more shade which assists in keeping soils more moist. These are the kind of conditions in which ramps grow best.

Dr. Jim Chamberlain reviews the stages of a ramp's reproduction and life cycle. Ramps have a very short window in which to store up carbohydrates for the year. In the spring, before the forest canopy grows thick and blocks out light reaching the forest floor, ramps must soak up the sun and store the carbohydrates in their roots.


Research Forest Products Technologist, Jim Chamberlain, demonstrates how to build a raised bed in the forest to plant ramp bulbs. After ordering ramps bulbs in bulk, the starters can remain refrigerated for nearly two months until you're ready to plant them.


Learn to identify double and triple ramp bulbs. Dr. Jim Chamberlain reviews when it is safe to separate bulbs of two or three and when it is best to let ramps continue to grow.


Building a raised bed under the forest canopy can sometimes improve growing conditions and raise crop yield. In this video, we review the construction of raised beds using store-bought wood or by using exhausted shiitake mushroom logs.


More videos detailing non-timber forest products will be added in the future. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with forest farming tips and techniques.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.