Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ramps to Peas

Wild woodland harvest destined for the breakfast or lunch menu.

This is one of my Ramp harvest sites situated in a quiet woodland setting.
The trench for the peas is four inches deep and the width of the hoe.

The seeds are scattered in the bottom and then covered with an inch of so of soil.
Tamped down and ready to grow - ( plans for a planting board are at April 26, 09 entry)

Last weekend was warm and sunny - great for a foraging outing. With the daffodils in bloom that meant the ramps - wild leeks - were ready for harvest in the woods. These tasty but odoriferous relatives of onions and garlic make for a great spring harvest for cooking and eating. Susan and I set off for Kewaunee county to see if they were ready. We visited the spot on the Kewaunee
(Anadromous Fish Facility) River where the spring fish migrants come up stream. We saw nice Rainbow trout, a few large Northern Pike, and a huge quantity of Suckers. The pike were the most interesting sight as I am a pike fisherman and really enjoy seeing them in the river. That weekend I got the kayaks off the garage ceiling in preparation for fishing later in the season, so seeing those fish just made for more excitement.

We did find the ramps (Allium tricoccum) in fine supply and ready for harvest. I took enough to flavor several meal and spread my pulling throughout the patch so as not to take too many or disturb much of the area. Please harvest wild food responsibly - ask permission is needed, take only what you need, and disturb as little as possible for future harvesters and yourself.
The ramps mostly flavored scrambled eggs this spring, along with my French tarragon and some fresh rosemary. A little cheese into this mix and breakfast or lunch is a great treat. Here is an interesting site for wild plants -
The Forager Press - - This give some information on Wild leeks - Ramps.

The past two weeks I have been teaching a vegetable gardening class to the Learning in Retirement chapter of Elderhostel that we have here as UWGB. I had a nice sized class and presented basics and some advanced topics along with showing my cold frame and how important a garden tool they are as a season extender and as a place to harden off transplants. I had a great group, lots of questions, and I sure hope they go home and plant some veggies from this experience.

Some of my transplants are in cold frames already, but we have already had one big failure this spring. For some reason all my marigold seedlings did not make it through this week's cold weather. I discovered today that frost got them good. We have a backup planting but they are not the same variety so the front landscape bed will be Queen Sophia instead of Safari orange and yellow - it should work, but those 50 plants were looking real good and I thought they could have taken the weather. They had been out for over a week, but guess not.

The tomato and pepper crops are up and today I did some transplanting of empty cells with plants from other cells that had multiples so all the packs are full one plant per cell. The root stock for the grafted tomatoes was planted last week and a few days later the scion stock was planted so more on GRAFTED tomatoes as these plants get to size. This is one of our experiments this season so follow and see just what happens.

I finished the extension on the brick cold frame landing in front of the greenhouse this past week just in time for the heavy rain last night and today to help, I hope, settle everything in nicely. I had finished the space last summer but quickly saw that I had not made the space large enough so this spring I added over 200 more bricks. Now the cold frames fit and I can walk in front of them, something I could not do with the other landing. Oh well, at least I had enough materials to extend the space.

I finally got my peas, Cascadia, in the ground early this week and found them really soaked from the rain. The pictures show the trench method that will as the peas grow allow for me to fill in around them and keep their roots cool along with the much that I will add. The spinach and arugula in the hoop house is ready for harvest today so in between the moments of rain, I will try to get some for our dinner tonight.

I worked at a garden event for the Gardener's Club of Green Bay yesterday suggesting planting techniques for the asparagus that people were picking up. I tried to answer questions for these future asparagus growers and I want to just remind everyone that I have tried making the posting of questions on the blog as easy as possible. So question and comments (constructive please) are always welcome and we will try to help you or suggest some source for an answer.

Happy Gardening


  1. Do you plant directly in your cold frame soil or just set your cell packs in?

  2. I also had some loss from the frosts over the past few weeks. I did complete the transplanting of beets and spinach into my hoop covered beds.

    I am taking a gamble on some early planted Super Sugar Snap. They are germinated but still have not broke the ground enough to be hurt by the frost.

    What are the varieties of tomato that you are trying to graft?


  3. Hi Anon,
    I guess to answer the cold frame question is that I do both. I have two frames in the garden planted directly with radish, lettuce, and spinach. I have another frame in the garden that has cell planted transplants hardening off and its that frame that the marigolds got froze in. Also in that frame I have lettuce transplants and my dandelion seedlings that will be planted out later in the season so that frame is for plants that will be someplace else later in the season. I hope to move this frame back up close to the house on the new brick landing that I just finished in front of the green house so that with the solar collection by the bricks I should not have any more cold temp issues. With all these options, this is why I find the cold frames so very useful because they are a micro environment all year round.
    Happy gardening

  4. Hi Bill,
    Well, your questions is kind of jumping the gun on blog info about tomato grafting, however, the root stock I am trying to use is my favorite heritage variety that grows so well for me and has such good roots - my self saved Red Peach. I picked it because these plants just keep on growing all season long and have to be topped in August to get the lower fruits to ripen before frost. My scion stock is not as directed, I am trying a couple of heritage varieties and one hybrid - Green Pineapple, Grubs, and Sugary.
    Check out the grafting tomato video on Johnny's Select Seed catalog web site for a nice presentation on the topic.
    Happy Gardening