Sowing: The seeds of leeks as with all alliums are small, hard and black. these seeds can be sown on a tray of compost and lightly covered with compost no more than 1/2cm deep. Germination doesn't take long and within a couple of weeks all seeds should have germinated.
Potting On: Once the seedlings are at the crook stage they can be transplanted into cell trays until they are approx pencil thick.
Planting Out: After hardening off the seedlings in a cold frame or similar the plants are ready to go out. these plants are going to be in the ground for most of the season and the ground needs to be as weed free as possible in order to save you time in the future. I use a tool I have made myself from an old wooden spade handle to make a hole about 6" deep and then place each plant one to a hole. these are then watered in but not refilled with soil. This will be done by the weather over the coming weeks.
Harvesting: when harvesting leeks it is best to use a garden fork to lift the leek out of the floor as they have quite a substantial root run which makes lifting by hand very difficult. In the winter it is suggested that you lift a couple of leeks and heel them in to a shallow row at the side of your plot because when iced up the soil can be impossible to dig.
Pests and Diseases: the number one problem for leeks is rust, this does not affect the edible part of the plant but makes for less attractive crops. Other problems include:
- Leek Moth - General insecticide
- White rot - Good hygiene, grow leeks in new ground every year.
- Bolting - Reduce stress on plants i.e. no early sowings, water well, resistant varieties
Varieties: The following are the varieties i have used with notes on the performance of each one.
- Musselburgh - Number One all rounder everybody has grown this leek and it is an excellent variety for the beginner, widely available.
- Lyon Prizetaker - Another good all rounder