Growing Leeks - The Haxnicks Way
The leek is an unique vegetable which belongs to the allium family and is also a relative of the onion. Growing leeks is often overlooked when planting as vegetables. However, they are the most undemanding and one of the most rewarding vegetables that you can plant. The plants are exceptionally easy to raise and are relatively pest free as well as not minding cold conditions. The leek is usually grown in the cooler part of the year and prefers a lightly limed soil. Leeks are usually grown alongside carrots, onions, garlic, parsnips and other root crops, but rotation is important and where possible leeks and onions should not be grown on the same patch for at least three years. The leek grows slowly and steadily over a relatively long period of time (4 to 6 months) and so the sooner the seeds are sown the larger the leeks will grow. In gardens leeks are usually transplanted from seed beds when they reach a length of 15 – 17cm and are as thick as a pencil (about 3 months of growth).
- Fill a Slim (Rannoch) Rootrainer Tray with good quality peat free compost
- Sow the seeds thinly into each cell in at the earliest mid-February/March (about 4 to six seeds in each cell)
- Cover the tray with the clear propagating lid
- Leave to germinate in a warm but not too warm place
- Remove lid once plants have emerged and use as a drip tray under the tray and grow on in good light
Once the plants are ready, plant out into a deep, rich well composted and moist soil. Make 15cm deep holes with a garden stake and place the seedling into the hole. Don’t close the hole with soil but rather water the plant, which will close the hole with the right amount of soil. As the leeks mature mound up the soil to keep the shanks blanched white. Watering of the young plants is vital until they are well established and weeding is just as essential.
Leeks are harvested by first loosening the plant with a fork pushed vertically downwards several inches from the row and then they can be pulled out with no damage and not too much soil disturbance. We like to end on a Tip and so why not use our Speedhoe to keep those weeds down. Speedhoe is a well recognised easy and chemical free way to keep vegetable patches free of weeds.
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