How to grow Leeks
GARDENING - GROW YOUR OWN VEG
are a popular vegetable and are easy to grow. They are a member
of the Allium family, which also includes onions and garlic.
Leeks have a mild, sweet flavour that works well in soups,
stews and casseroles, and they are also great roasted or grilled.
Choosing the Right Variety
Before you start growing leeks, it is important to choose
the right variety for your growing conditions such as:
Leek Musselburgh - a reliable mid-season leek, with good
flavour and texture.
Leek Pandora - an early variety, with long regular stems
which can be harvested from September to January.
Leek Lyon Prizetaker - with large thick stems that will
last through the winter
Preparing the Soil
Leeks grow best in well-drained, fertile soil that is rich
in organic matter. Start by digging the soil to a depth
of at least 8 inches and remove any rocks, weeds or debris.
Leeks prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0, so it may be
necessary to adjust the pH with lime or sulphur if your
soil is too acidic or alkaline.
Adding Organic Matter
Leeks thrive in soil that is rich in organic matter, so
it is important to add compost or well-rotted manure to
the soil before planting. This will help to improve the
soil structure, provide nutrients and retain moisture. Spread
a 2 inch layer of compost or manure over the soil, and work
it into the top 6 inches of soil with a garden fork or tiller.Planting
Leeks can be started from seed or from transplants. If
you are starting from seed, sow the seeds indoors about
8 to 10 weeks before your last expected frost date. Leek
seeds need a long germination period, so be patient and
keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge.
If you are starting with transplants, they can be planted
directly in the garden after your last frost date. Transplants
should be spaced about 6 inches apart in rows that are 12
to 18 inches apart. Dig a hole for each transplant that
is deep enough to accommodate the entire root ball, and
fill in the soil around the plant. Be sure to firm the soil
around the base of the plant to remove any air pockets.
Watering and Fertilising
Leeks need consistent moisture throughout the growing season,
so it is important to water them regularly. Water deeply
once or twice a week, depending on the weather and soil
conditions. Avoid overhead watering, as this can lead to
fungal diseases. Instead, water at the base of the plant
with a drip irrigation system or a watering can.
Leeks are heavy feeders and need regular fertilisation
to grow well. Side-dress the plants with a balanced fertiliser
every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season. Apply the
fertiliser to the soil around the base of the plants, being
careful not to get it on the leaves.
Hilling the Soil
To encourage the development of long, white stems, it is
important to hill the soil around the base of the leeks.
This will prevent the stems from turning green and bitter.
Begin hilling the soil when the leeks are about 6 inches
tall and continue to hill every few weeks throughout the
growing season. Use a hoe or garden fork to mound the soil
up around the base of the plants, taking care not to damage
the roots or leaves.
Weeds can quickly overtake a leek patch, so it is important
to keep the area weed-free. Hand-weed around the base of
the plants to avoid damaging the roots. A layer of mulch
around the base of the plants can help to suppress weeds
and retain moisture.
Leeks are ready to harvest when the stems are about 1 to
2 inches in diameter and at least 6 inches long. Use a sharp
knife or garden shears to cut the leeks at ground level.
Be careful not to damage the leaves or roots of the neighbouring
Leeks can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Before storing, remove any outer leaves and trim the roots.
Wrap the leeks in damp paper towels, and place them in a
plastic bag or container. Alternatively, leeks can be blanched
and frozen for later use.
leek is a Welsh emblem and is closely associated with Welsh
culture and tradition. The origin of the leek as a Welsh
emblem is not clear, but there are several stories and legends
that explain the connection.
One legend tells the story of a battle between the Welsh
and the Saxons in the Seventh century. According to the
legend, Saint David advised the Welsh soldiers to wear leeks
in their hats to distinguish them from the Saxons. The Welsh
soldiers won the battle and the leek became a symbol of
Welsh pride and victory.
Another legend tells the story of a Welsh prince named
Cadwaladr who was warned of an impending attack by the Saxons.
Cadwaladr ordered his soldiers to wear leeks in their hats.
The leek served as a symbol of Welsh solidarity and strength,
and the Welsh army defeated the Saxons.
The leek is also associated with the Battle of Crecy, which
took place in 1346 during the Hundred Years War between
England and France. The battle is significant in Welsh history
because it was fought by a significant number of Welsh archers
who fought on the side of the English army. According to
legend, the Welsh archers wore leeks in their hats to distinguish
themselves from their English counterparts and to show their
allegiance to Wales. This story has been passed down through
generations and has become a popular part of Welsh folklore.
While the legend of the leek-wearing archers may be more
myth than fact, the leek has been a symbol of Wales for
centuries and is still a popular emblem today. The Welsh
celebrate St David's Day on 1st March and the leek is often
worn as a symbol of Welsh identity and patriotism. The leek
is also used in traditional Welsh dishes, such as cawl (a
hearty soup) and Welsh rarebit (a cheese and bread dish).
In addition to its cultural significance, the leek is also
an important crop in Wales. The Welsh climate and soil conditions
are well-suited for growing leeks and the vegetable is an
important part of the Welsh agricultural economy. The town
of Llantrisant in South Wales is particularly famous for
its leeks and hosts an annual leek show where growers compete
for the title of best leek.
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