Leeks, the Unloved (and Superior) Alternative

Asked May 15, 2018, 5:50 PM EDT

Sweet Sarsaparilla, why are we not all using leeks exclusively instead of onions in cooking???? Seriously, why not? They're far less bitter and add a depth of flavour that onions can't match. I also desire greatly to grow them and was pretty unsuccessful last year. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was me. A colleague suggested I try mounding them, as you would for potatoes. Any advice to help make my dreams come true?

New Castle County Delaware

1 Response

Leeks- for better success, note the following;

-Plant leeks in the fall for a spring harvest, then plant again in the late spring for a fall harvest. (Make sure you plant the right variety at the right time)

-If you are starting from seed, sow the seeds about 6 weeks before the last frost of the winter

Leek seeds germinate best at a temperature around 77 °F (25 °C)

-For direct sowing, prepare a planting bed with plenty of compost. Plant the seeds 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) deep.

-The seedlings are ready to transplant when they grow to be at least 6 inches (15.2 cm) long.

-Prepare a permanent bed for the seedlings at a spot in the sun that has well-draining soil. Work compost into the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches (20.3 cm). Dig a trench 6 inches (15.2 cm) deep

- When transplanting, plant leek seedlings at least 6 inches (15.2 cm) deep and 6 inches (15.2 cm) apart. Pat the soil around the base of the leak so that it covers the roots and reaches the cleft where the leaves spread apart. The process of slightly mounding the dirt in this way is called "hilling."

-Leaks like it moist. Do not let the soil dry out.

-Hilling or mounging the soil periodically ensures a larger edible white part of the leek. About halfway through the growing season, hill the soil around the base of the leeks again, so that it reaches the place where the leaves cleave apart. Hilling too high can cause the leeks to rot.