Here we'll tell you about cultivated leeks. The common leek is a biennial herbaceous that's grown in vegetable gardens and whose leaves we can eat.
Growing this plant from seed to harvest is pretty simple.
The common leek is a herbaceous biennial, mostly cultivated as a vegetable for it's edible leaves and roots.
It's long leaves are opposite, flat and more or less large — they vary in colour from dark green to yellowish green. The base of the leaves form a pseudo-stalk, and the buried, white portion of the leek is most appreciated for it's culinary uses. The greenish-white flowers appear in umbel groups atop the straight, floral stems, but only after a full year of growth! There are close to 190 varieties in the European Catalogue of species and varieties.
Sow my leeks
You can extend the seeding window of leeks from mid-January to mid-September, depending on when you'd like to harvest.
For an early spring harvest, you'll need to start growing your leeks at the end of summer or the beginning of autumn in the previous year.
Sow directly in the ground in August or September.
Thin regularly in order to leave space for the most vigorous plants to develop.
If you've sown in small pots, you should transplant the seedlings in October or November at the latest.
For a fairly early season harvest, you'll need to sow in the winter.
Sow under shelter in January for mild climates, between February-March elsewhere.
You'll enjoy a harvest of small, delicious leeks starting at the beginning of summer!
Finally, for an autumn harvest —
It's the perfect time to cultivate leeks, because ideal temperatures allow outdoor growing.
Seed in a greenhouse or under shelter from March to May.
Thin out my leeks
Thin as soon as they come up, then as often as necessary so that your leeks have enough space to develop!
Dibble my leeks
If sown in a greenhouse, you can transplant the seedlings once they reach 1-2 cm in diameter. Lightly trim the roots and the leaves in order to improve recovery once transplanted. Leave 30 cm between each plant.
Plant my leeks
If you have purchased seedlings, you can transplant them and slightly cut the leaves and roots, which accelerates the recovery after planting. Leave 30 cm between each plant, and bury them enough to have a maximum of white leaves.
Hill up my leeks
Quick tip from the professionals — hilling leeks! In order to encourage the development of the tasty white portions of your leeks, it's important to build up mounds around their base regularly. Hilling consists of adding earth to the base of the plant in order to create small mounds. More of the leek will remain underground, remaining white, and you'll harvest tastier leeks!
Harvesting my leeks
Your leeks will be ready for harvest five months after sowing. Careful! If they're solidly rooted into the earth, it's better to wait for a rainy day, or to use a spade in order to avoid breaking them. That would be a shame!
Water my leeks
Leeks don't need watering, except in cases of prolonged dryness or extreme heat.
Mulch my leeks
Mulch around your leeks after planting to limit watering and weeding. This can be used instead of hilling, if you gradually add mulch around the feet of the plants.