It is worth discovering how to grow leeks as they provide vegetables over a long period from late autumn to early spring.
Leek seed is usually sown in a bed, and the small seedlings are transplanted out into their growing patch, when they are pencil size.
Soil for Leeks should be:
- rich – well manured ( can follow runner beans!)
- in full sun
- under glass from February to March
- outside in April
- 1cm (½in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart
- in soil which has been raked to a fine tilth
- from June onwards
- by carefully lifting when plants are large enough to handle (pencil thickness)
- trim the tops of the leaves
- plant 23-25cm (9-10in) apart in the row with 45cm (18in) between rows
- use a trowel or dibber to make a hole 15cm (6in) deep
- drop the plants in the hole – but DO NOT cover with soil
- fill the holes with water
To look after the leeks:
- water well during dry weather
- keep weed free
- stems can be earthed up (soil dragged up to the stem) during the growing season to increase the length of white stem
Leeks are hardy enough to stay in the soil throughout the winter.
How to harvest leeks depends on which end of the season they are at.
- Early season leeks are lifted by placing a fork under the roots. The roots hold on tightly and the stem easily snaps off, if a fork is not used to loosen the roots.
- Late leeks have a stronger stem and can be pulled, giving a slight twist to break the roots, so most of the root clump & soil stay in the ground.
Mini leeks are grown closer together and harvested earlier. Click this link for more information on how to grow mini leeks.