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Leeks, or ramps, emerge in the early spring and only last for several weeks,

Leeks, or ramps, emerge in the early spring and only last for several weeks,


There has been a lot of discussion this spring about “recession” vegetable gardens. And a home vegetable garden can be a significant savings and a healthy choice.

Native wild plants can also help reduce food budgets, provide healthy vitamins and add a gourmet touch to meals. Throughout much of the eastern North American continent, the wild leeks are beginning to emerge. The woodland, perennial herb is one of the first springtime delicacies.

The pungent garlic-onion bulbs can be used in a range of different recipes, frozen, pickled or dried for future use. Both the leaves and the scallion like bulb are edible.

Leeks, or in some areas called ramps, are rich in Vitamins A and C and provide some essential minerals. They can be found growing in many wet, deciduous woods and near streams and creeks.

They are extremely difficult to grow in a “domesticated” vegetable garden because of their needed environment requirements.

The time frame for harvesting (digging) the leeks is rather short. Normally, they emerge in late March or early April. Once the woods canopy provides dense shade, usually in May, the distinctive, white blossoms appear and the plant reseeds itself for future crops. The leek then dies back to re-appear again next spring.

It is always important to check with landowners or local laws before harvesting the leeks on public property. Be careful not too over harvest. Leave plants in the patch to reseed for future use.

Spring is a good time to be outdoors and in the woods. Many other native wildflowers and herbs will be blooming and emerging. It is free, fun and a wholesome activity for the entire family.





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