I still haven’t identified what the woody shrubs in my garden plot were, but there was one visitor that I knew and was excited for: wild onions. There are a variety of species of wild onions and ramps, but they are all members of the Allium genus, which includes the more familiar onions, garlic, and all their brothers and sisters. While the presence of these wild onions in my plot might indicate that the person before me was not doing a lot with their garden, it was nice to have a little bit of a reward for all that digging.
Typically when digging ramps or wild onions in a place where you want to maintain the bed it would be wise to take only the largest few and leave the bed for next year. But given that I am going to be filling that space with a slew of new vegetables, I dug them all up this time.
You can see in the photos that some of them do have a small, onion-like bulb, but the younger shoots look more like green onions, no real bulb at the base. And green onions are what I typically treat them like in my cooking: sliced thin they’re great in a stir fry, a salad, or as a garnish on just about anything.
With any foraging you need to be careful, but ramps and wild onions are on the easy side. There are similar looking bulbs that are dangerous, such as death camas, but pretty much anything that looks like and onion and smells like an onion is safe to eat. There is one species of ornamental onion that I’ve read about, Allium giganteum, that can cause some intestinal distress, but nothing serious. And I don’t think you’re likely to find those around the woods. There’s nothing seriously poisonous in the genus Allium, though they aren’t good for dogs or cats, so keep them to yourself.