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We hope you are able to form a connection with us, and the products we grow and produce on the land we live and work with.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Profile of a leek.

In January we are going to post plant profiles, and this week we are taking a look at Leek's.
The leek is really a large, upright, non-bulbing type of onion., which is milder, hardier and easier to grow. It withstands cold temperatures, and is generally untroubled by pests.

We start seeding leeks in flats in the house the first week of March and into the end of March. Follow the instructions on the seed packet as to how deep to plant the seeds. Since the seedlings are hardy to cold temperatures you are able to plant them out in your garden earlier. Last year we transplanted the seedlings around May 11 and they withstood the light frosts with no problem. Prior to transplanting we had the trays of plants growing in cold frames, whereby the night temperatures dropped below freezing in April.

We have tried a couple of different planting methods, the first one being, dig a trench about 3-6 inches deep and add a bit of compost to the trench. Place the seedlings in the trench and mound the soil up around them. As the season progresses, keep filling in the trench and mounding the soil around the leeks. This allows extra long blanched stalks and a greater edible portion. Leeks enjoy even moisture, so if the rains are not prevalent provide them with supplemental watering's.

The second method we tried was, make a hole into the soil with a dowel or pencil, deep enough so the top inch or two of the plant is out of the ground. As the leek grows hoe soil up around the plants. We found this method to be the easier one and had as equal success with it as the other method.

Leeks must be dug at harvest as their strong root system makes them difficult to pull. To allow successful storage of leeks for an extended time , dig the roots and all and store upright in a cardboard box filled with soil as if the leeks were growing and store in a cool garage or sold room.

Leeks can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked the vegetable lends a creamy texture to soups and broths.

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