How to grow leeks
Posted 05 January 2006 - 10:35 PM
Now the seed catalogs are tempting me to add some to my garden next year. Would I be better off ordering sets? I get the sense that they're a long season crop and I'm not too good at starting veggies from seed.
How do you grow them? How do you keep them? Sometimes I can't find them in the produce section of the store and I have a feeling that I can keep them a long time like you can carrots or potatoes. Any tips?
Posted 07 January 2006 - 10:53 PM
Could it be there's a "leek pusher" out there this year? Because I, too, got turned on to leeks by a farmer's market seller this year. Never having grown them I'kll wait here with you, hoping we'll catch an expert opinion!
Posted 09 January 2006 - 02:24 AM
Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:58 AM
I've got just the perfect place to grow leeks -- in the front part of a raised bed of landscape shrub roses. Lots of pine bark soil conditioner; loose fluffy soil. The terrain slopes so one wall of the bed is quite tall. The roses are at least three feet away from the wall and are just sprayed occasionally with Daconil or Mancozeb fungicide. Those sprays are approved for food crops and, in fact, I saw Mancozeb advertised in a catalog of onion plants. I think I'll plant them in clusters, not rows, so they look more decorative. I do that now with garlic -- the tops of Zemo develop the greatest corkscrew curl just before they bloom. People are always asking me about "that cool perennial" in the rose bed.
Question about starting the sets prior to planting outdoors -- how far in advance, how deep to plant, what type of planting mix, what temperature? We keep our greenhouses very cool in the winter -- heated to 34 deg F; vented at 45 deg F. We're trying to keep the roses dormant. It's too cold for seed starting. I've tried, even used heat mats. Is this too cold for starting leek sets?
Posted 14 January 2006 - 11:48 AM
Posted 14 January 2006 - 03:21 PM
In a previous post, , you said something about starting the sets ahead of time, too. So how do you do this? Could I do it in our greenhouses which are heated to 34 deg F and vented at 45 deg F? We have a heat mat I could set up, but I'd really like to avoid that hassle since there's never any open space near an electric outlet and extension cords create a safety hazard.
Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:25 PM
My Mom adores Leeks so I always grow a lot of them. Rarely would I get those nice fat and long white parts -- until I used a new planting method this year that really worked well. I top dressed the bed with compost first. Then, from The Randon House of Vegetables: "Traditionally, leeks are placed in the bottom of holes about 15cm (6 inches) deep, made with a dibber. Then they are merely watered in.". Yep -- didn't fill in the hole. The watering throughout the season gradually filled it in and I ended up with the nicest leeks I've ever had. Even though I grow a large quantity of leeks, the number in the Dixondale leek sets bundles far exceed what I have room for using standard spacing. So, I planted them twice as close and harvested every other one over the summer for that "gourmet" delight: baby leeks. Great on the grill. If you leave them close together, they won't mature into the nice fat leeks you'll want later in the year.
Last tip. I usually have leeks left by the time winter arrives. LEAVE them in the ground. If the ground thaws just a bit, I have leeks handy for stocks and soups through the winter and into spring. Once they shoot up their flower stalks they become too tough to eat but, they make cool twisty stalks and seed heads. I keep a few in the bed for fun and interest in the vegetable garden. Plus, I assume some type of beneficial insect appreciates them (anybody know for sure?).
Posted 19 April 2006 - 05:39 AM
They arrived about two weeks ago. The onions were fairly large -- the size of scallions. I planted some in our kitchen garden, enough for a sampling, and gave away the rest. The leeks were really small -- some no thicker than a yarn needle. After reading the posts here, we decided to plant them in our bed of Meidiland shrub roses. It's a raised bed with very high organic contect. It has good winter accessibility. We planted them in clusters, kind of like you would tulip bulbs between and in front of the roses. We dug deep holes, planted the leeks and just filled the holes an inch or so. This weekend, my husband added another inch of soil. He'll add a bit more every week or so as they grow.
Surprisingly, they all look good, even the ones that were really tiny.
We love leeks and use 5 - 7 a week, but we still probably overplanted. It's good to know they can keep over the winter right between the roses.
I wonder what Stephen Scanniello will think of our idea of "Rose Companions"?