When the weather gets better again in April, many people want to cook with fresh products again. It is most beautiful when some of the ingredients come from our own cultivation or have been collected from nature. Friends of wild garlic are therefore drawn to the forests from spring to harvest the fresh leaves. However, many collectors still ask themselves a certain question when a green flowering carpet opens up in front of them: are these plants poisonous when they bloom?

Consumption is always safe

To get straight to the point: everything from the components of the wild garlic is edible. This also applies during and after the wild garlic blossom. Leaves, flowers and onions never contain any toxic substances. In this respect, the whole plant can basically be harvested and processed. However, this approach makes little sense, especially when it comes to an extension in your own garden. Because in order to spread, the wild garlic plants first have to be between three and four years old. Only then are they mature enough for reproduction. Appropriate care should be taken during harvesting and, if possible, only one leaf should be harvested from each individual plant. From flowering onwards, most of the flavor can be found in the wild garlic flower.

There are many reasons for myths

But where does the assumption come from that the wild garlic blossom leads to the development of harmful toxins? There are two possible approaches to this. On the one hand, the early harvest of wild garlic often coincides with the collection of another classic forest plant: the woodruff. With this it is actually the case that one should refrain from harvesting from flowering. The reason for this lies in the aromatic substance coumarin. The proportion of this ingredient increases sharply in the woodruff from flowering. Although it is not fatal for humans, the risk of waking up with a severe headache after consuming a may punch increases greatly due to this higher concentration. Anyone who has ever had a hangover like this also develops a corresponding respect for the wild garlic plants. Another reason could be that wild garlic plants can be confused with other plants that are toxic to humans. Mention should be made here of autumn croissants, lilies of the valley and the spotted arum. If you want to prevent mix-ups here, especially in the early stages of growth, you should actually consider having wild garlic plants in your own garden.

Basic information on growing wild garlic plants

As already briefly mentioned, when cultivating wild garlic in your own garden, patience is required, as it only begins to reproduce after three to four years. On the other hand, wild garlic plants usually do not get older than eight years. The phase in which reproduction takes place is correspondingly short and the best possible external conditions are accordingly important. This includes a place in partial or full shade for wild garlic plants. The soil should be rich in humus, moist and also contain as much lime as possible. In contrast, cultivation on sandy soils is rarely crowned with success. In addition, the maintenance of the garden plays an important role. In the area where the wild garlic plants are, they should not be overdone in autumn, because these plants feel particularly good between rotting leaves. For the first three to four years, all of the plant’s energy goes into the main bulb. Afterwards, side bulbs are formed and the number of flowering plants also increases sharply.

Cultivation of wild garlic

Once the location has been chosen, there is a choice between the planting itself and the scattering of seeds or the planting of bulbs. The latter method is more laborious at the beginning, but costs significantly less time in the context of continuous maintenance. The top edge of the onion should be a good five centimeters below the surface of the earth. When sowing wild garlic, however, it is important to ensure that the seeds are fresh. The best times for this are summer and autumn. The seeds should be covered with about two centimeters of soil. If you harvest seeds yourself, it can take up to two years for the first new plants to develop. For better development, you can cover the beds with damp leaves in autumn.

Care of the wild garlic

However, once the wild garlic plants have spread, they require little care if the soil is sufficiently moist. Only at the beginning is it important to regularly remove weeds from the wild garlic patch. However, once this has spread, wild herbs usually have no chance anyway. Otherwise, neither cutting nor fertilizing is necessary. No special precautions have to be taken in winter either, since wild garlic is a hardy plant. In spring, until the wild garlic blossom, care should be taken to ensure that there is sufficient watering in dry phases.

Everything you need to know in a nutshell:

  • With wild garlic plants, everything from the leaves to the flowers to the onions is edible – even during and after the wild garlic blossom. Wild garlic is not poisonous!
  • When growing, you can choose between sowing seeds and planting onions.
  • It is important to have a place in the garden that is as shady as possible with moist, humus-rich soil and a border around the bed to prevent uncontrolled spread of wild garlic in the garden.
  • Wild garlic plants are frugal, do not require any special care in addition to a sufficiently moist soil and are winter hardy.

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