How to Grow Leeks
Instructions for Growing Leeks
in Your Vegetable Garden
Leeks are members of the onion family that looks a bit like an overgrown scallion. Leek's delicate flavor is often used in soups and specialty dishes.
Growing leeks is fairly easy and it is a very hardy plant. Thus, this vegetable is commonly recommended for those gardening in cold climates.
Growing leeks is easiest in moderate to cool temperatures (below 80 degrees (F)). They Leeks grow in warmer gardening climates, but hotter temperatures causes them to grow slowly.
Plant leeks in a sunny location.
Gardening Tip for growing Leeks - Mulching is a good idea, as it will help regulate the ground temperature and keep the roots cooler.
Prepare the garden bed a few weeks ahead of time by digging in well-rotted manure, compost and/or a nitrogen rich fertilizer. The soil pH should be 6.0 to 7.0 for growing leeks. (See: testings your garden soil pH level.)
Raised garden beds work well for growing leeks, in that it makes hilling easier (as the vegetable grows).
In other climates, start your seeds indoors in trays.
Transplant your leeks when the seedlings are as thick around as a pencil (they should be around 10" tall or so). For growing leeks, it is recommended that you dig rows 8" deep and 4" apart, spacing the seedlings 4" apart. Hill dry soil around the stem. As the leek grows, hill more soil around the stem.
Gardening Tip for Growing Leeks - You can use collars made from newspaper to protect the stem from the soil (keep it cleaner).
Keep the garden soil lightly moist (but not soggy) with regular waterings when growing leeks.
Apply monthly doses of fertilizer to the ground around your plants can help provide a more hearty crop. (Personally, my favorite overall garden fertilizer is "tea" made from compost or manure. It's organic and can safely be used on nearly all vegetable, fruit, and other garden plants.)
You should find that growing leeks presents very few gardening problems.
Gardening Tip for growing Leeks- Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.
Remove the top half of leaves in midsummer. (Don't cut away any more than 1/2 the leaves though, as that can actually damage the plant.) This process encourages the plant to put its growing efforts into the root, rather than the leaves.
When growing leeks, it takes a long time (up to 5 months) for this vegetable to produce large stems, but they can be harvested when they're smaller/younger. Leeks are more tender and sweeter the younger they are. (You may prefer the taste of leeks that have been harvested before they're fully grown.)
To harvest, simply pull the full plant from the ground. Harvest only as you need them, but remove from the ground before the first frost of Fall arrives.