Outdoors in open ground in a prepared seedbed or 15cm/6"
March to April - temperature +10C/50F
How to Sow
12mm/½" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6"
apart or in groups/blocks.
Thin seedlings to 5cm/2" apart Keep the soil moist but not
very wet and weed free.
Growing on - in open ground
Once the plants reach 20cm/8" high and the width of a pencil
they should be transplanted to their permanent positions.
This will be around Water the seed bed if dry well before
attempting to transplant.
Dig up the plants with the roots in tact, the leaves can be
trimmed enough to prevent them flopping into the soil.
Make a hole with a dibber or stick about 15cm/6" deep and
wide enough to drop a leek plant in without touching the
sides. Fill the hole with water but do not fill with soil.
repeat with all the leek plants spacing a good 15cm/6" apart
either in rows or in blocks.
Growing on - in pots
As above. Choose containers at least 30cm/12" deep but only
fill to within 10cm/4" of the top. This will enable you to
blanch the stems by just adding layers of compost or soil as
Water in dry weather and keep weed free.
Once the leeks have grown thicker and have completely filled
the holes, start earthing up to blanch the stems. This is
done by gradually pulling the surrounding soil up against
the plants and is best done in stages over a number of
weeks, earthing up a maximum of 5cm/2" at a
time. This is done to produce more white stem.
Harvest as and when needed by gently lifting with a fork. Harvesting can start once the
stems 12mm/½" in thickness for very tender baby
specimens although the optimum size would be between
2.5-5cm/1-2" thick. Harvesting can continue through the
winter to early spring.
Not often severely attacked due
to the short growing period.
Yellow drooping leaves and maggots in the base of the bulbs
None. Lift and burn infected plants
Organic 1. Practise crop rotation.
2. Destroy any thinnings or broken leaves
3. Firm the soil around young plants very firmly Chemical
Spray young plants with an insecticide containing
Stem and Bulb
Young plants leaves become swollen and twisted. Bulbs have a
soft feel to them and often split at the base. The worms are not
visible to the naked eye.
None - lift and burn infected plants
Practice crop rotation
Tips of leaves turn white and papery, spreading downwards
Organic Lift and destroy badly infected plants Chemical Spray with an insecticide containing Dithane as soon as
you see the first signs of disease
Practice crop rotation
Yellow patches on leaves with a greyish mould underneath
Remove the infected leaves and apply an organic copper
spray/dust to diseased and surrounding plants every 7-10 day Chemical
Remove the infected leaves and spray with Dithane at first
sign of attack
Avoid damp or humid sites and overcrowding.
Grow Beetroot, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage Family close by.
Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers
nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".
To learn more about companion planting click
In the Kitchen
Unwashed, up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
Remove any damaged outer leaves. Trim the root base and cut off up to
two thirds of the dark green tops. Leeks often contain dirt inside the
layers. One way to ensure it is all removed is to cut them in half
lengthways and hold them under cold running water whilst fanning open
Whole, halves, thick slices = 30 minutes
ThickSlices = 10 - 15 minutes
Thin Slices = 5 - 10 minutes
Chopped - 5 - 8 minutes
Thin Slices = 8 - 12 minutes
For more preparation and cooking information about leeks plus lots
of recipes visit our sister site