How to Grow Leeks

Grow leeks as part of a crop rotation because they will quickly succumb to diseases if replanted in the same spot year after year. Planting them deep produces white and tender stems.

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Fall can be a surprisingly bountiful time on the vegetable plot, but you need to plan ahead carefully for a good crop of vegetables. Start sowing the previous spring, giving your plants all summer and fall to bulk up, and you should have plenty of fresh produce for winter dishes.

When to Start: Spring
At Their Best: Winter
Time to Complete: 30 minutes for sowing; 1-1/2 hours for planting out

Materials Needed:

  • leek seed
  • seed tray
  • seed compost
  • dibber or slim trowel

Sow in Trays

In spring, sow seed thinly across a seed tray and keep in a cold frame or cool, sheltered spot while they germinate. When the seedlings are about 8 inches tall, they are ready for planting out. In colder climates, start indoors in late winter or early spring.

Seeds Sown in Sheltered TraysEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant Out

In a well-prepared bed, mark out a line and use your dibber to make holes 8 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Drop a leek into each hole, making sure the roots reach the bottom, and then water them in. There's no need to backfill with soil; this will happen slowly, of its own accord, allowing some light to reach the small leek plants.

Planting LeeksEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Crop Care and Harvest

Leeks require very little attention after planting. You only need to water during prolonged dry spells. The crop will sit happily in the ground until you want to harvest, but the stems are prone to snapping when extracted from frozen soil. If freezing conditions are forecast, lift the leeks beforehand, trim the leaves, wrap them in newspaper and store in a cool place.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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