Wild garlic, chenseli, bear onion, levurda, bulb, ramson is a discreet perennial herbaceous plant that reveals its full beauty in late spring and early summer. Its lily-like, light green leaves are valued for their pleasant garlic taste and useful properties that not only strengthen, but also revitalize the body. Generally you can find ramson in shady deciduous and deciduous-spruce forests, in gullies and lowlands, where it is quite wet. Its area of growth is incredibly wide. Austria, Great Britain, Georgia, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovakia, France... Where only it does not grow!
Today there are two species of this amazing plant: Allium ursinum - Bear Onion (in our country occurs in the Caucasus) and Allium victorialis - Victory Onion (distributed mainly in the Far East and Siberia).
In many countries, ramson is protected and included in the Red Book, for this reason it is increasingly grown as a cultivated plant.
Beneficial properties and uses of ramson
Preferred to ramson primarily for its high content of beneficial substances. Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, PP, folic acid, niacin, iodine, fluorine, calcium, selenium, zinc - everything there is in it! Because of this, it stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, has a positive effect on the blood, cleanses the skin, helps with colds, strengthens the immune system, strengthens the cardiovascular system, speeds up metabolism, is characterized by pronounced bactericidal properties. It is used raw, in salads, as a garnish, in cooking, pickled, dried, infused.
The morphology of the plant
The onion is not randomly assigned to the genus Onion, subfamily Onion, family Amaryllis. It does have a small elongated bulb, about 1 cm in diameter. During flowering, it throws out an umbrella-shaped inflorescence on a fairly long, 15-50 cm triangular stem. Has linear-lanceolate, white perianth leaflets. Forms a fruit capsule with virtually round seeds. But real leaves in ramson only two. Rather narrow, 3 - 5 cm wide, sharp, lanceolate type, they are somewhat inferior in height to the stem. Their petiole is narrower than the main plate and almost twice as long as the main plate.
Peculiarities of the plant
Sherry is an ephemeroid. In other words, a perennial whose above-ground part develops in spring and dies off by the end of summer. Its tender leaves sprouted in March are the first vitamin greens. But the older the plant becomes, the coarser its tissues, so the collection of ramson continues only until flowering, which begins in May.
After flowering, the ramson seeds fall off. They will only germinate the following year. If they are saved and sown in the spring, shoots will not appear until the next spring season. But ramson can also be propagated in another way - vegetatively. Well-formed plants form two replacement bulbs, which can be detached and planted in a bed.
The ramson is now becoming increasingly popular as a garden crop.
Seeds of three of its varieties are now available: Bear's Delicacy, Bear cub, Bear's Ear.The reason they are so close is that in the wild the bear loves to eat the plant
Cultivating the ramson planting location, it should be remembered that this crop is very fruitful, shaded from direct sunlight and moist. For this reason it is better to plant it under a tree or a fence where there is no scorching sun and the soil is not too acidic. © Pete Favelle
The propagation of ramson
The simplest way to propagate ramson is by dividing the bush. For this purpose, early in the spring or on a cloudy summer day it is necessary to separate some of the bulbs (certainly with roots) and plant them in rows at a distance of 20 - 35 cm from each other with row spacing of 30 - 45 cm.
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If you cannot get the planting material, you can grow ramson from seeds. For this purpose the purchased seed material must be subjected to stratification. It consists of a fairly long, from 80 to 100 days, cooling period, and is made by sowing seeds under the winter. In this case the seeds are sown in the same way as for the vegetative propagation.
For easier care, the seeds are often sown not in a permanent place but in a box buried in the garden. In spring the grass is removed from the bed, the soil is loosened well, filled with compost, and then the plants are planted in rows.
The seeds are not put deep into the soil, but mulched with a small layer of earth.
Care for ramson
The first two years the plants are only cared for: watered, loosened, fertilized (any complex fertilizer once or twice a season). As ramson bulbs tend to rise out of the ground about 0,5 cm every year, starting from the second year the bed is mulched with a thin layer of fallen leaves. © Søren Holt
Pests and diseases
Pests and diseases are practically harmless to ramson. In rare cases, with strong overwatering and in acidic soils, it shows rust and then gray rot.
Gathering the leaves of ramson
The yield of ramson reaches 3 kg per square meter. However, the leaves can be cut from the plants only on the third year of development. You should be aware that the removed vegetative part will not be renewed this year, so you will only be able to harvest herbs in the same place two or three years later.
Based on this fact, it makes sense to grow ramson on three beds at once, with the planting step of one year, or to collect the leaves selectively.
Since ramson is characterized by uneven maturing of seeds, you should not wait until all capsules will burst. You need to take a bowl and periodically shake off into it what has already ripened. Or put paper bags over the inflorescences and wait until the seeds fall out on their own.
In nature, ramson grows in large clumps, filling vast areas with it. If allowed to drop seeds in the garden, the plant will eventually become a vicious weed.