04 November 2017

Leeks - order seeds or starts now

Leek seedlings
Lancelot Leeks are those beautiful, mild-onion-like vegetables that are easy to grow in our zone 7. And, they don't require the deep, fertile soil that beets and other root vegetables need. We live on a rocky hill and have had zero success with beets, turnips and other roots but leeks work just fine.

In years passed I've allowed one or two to go to seed and kept the same crop going for four or five years before the seed failed to return.

This year I've ordered one bunch of starts (30 seedlings $14) from Dixondale Farms. They won't be delivered until mid-February 2018 - at planting time. I ordered now because by then they will be hard to find.

Planting Leek Seedlings
Like all vegetables, Leeks need lots of organic matter in the soil. Since I'm emptying one of the compost bins right now, I'm putting buckets of compost into the bed where they'll be planted.

At planting time, an 8-inch deep trench is made and the leeks are planted at the bottom of the trench, 6-inches apart.  Rows can be as close as 5-inches apart.

Then, add enough soil to cover the white part, leaving the green part exposed, above soil level. Fertilize with some version of 10-10-10. Water thoroughly. Then, mulch the bed with loose straw or similar organic material.

When the stems are an inch thick, add more soil to the trench, eventually filling it to the same level as the surrounding soil. The underground part of the plant will be the head of your leek so you want it protected from sunlight that would make it turn green (just more stem).
Soil goes up to the green only

 - Check out this Getty Stewart resource for more pics and tips http://www.gettystewart.com/how-to-plant-leeks-in-the-garden/
 - Also this guide from Gavin Webber, Greening of Gavin
http://www.greeningofgavin.com/2013/04/how-to-grow-onions.html

But if you want to plant leeks this winter, buy seeds now to start at home to make your own seedlings or order seedlings for winter delivery and planting.

Seedlings are 75 days to harvest. If you want to start yours from seed, add that length of time to the 75-days; most say 110 days to harvest from seed.










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