Leeks, leeks, leeks!

Leeks, leeks, leeks!

Well it has been a great year for leeks at the plot this year. We have been eating leek and potato soup since the beginning of September and I think we have enough leeks still in the ground to get us through the winter. Leeks are very easy to grow and they can go almost anywhere you have a bit of space. Just make sure you don’t plant them in the same spot you have had leeks, onions or shallots in the previous two years.

Flossy dibbing in the leeks in May

I first planted seeds into a large seed tray back in March and left them outside in my mini greenhouse. They are quite hardy so don’t need to be inside to start off . These grew really close together and once they were about the length of a pencil, near the end of May for us, we got them out to the allotment. Flossy came to help me with this job and she used an old broom handle to dib a hole in the soil. She did a row at a time, working out from the middle, and once she had made the holes she then carefully dropped each little leek into the hole. I followed behind her and topped each hole up with water. We ended up with one bed with about 60 leeks planted but still lots of baby leeks left over so we found gaps between the kale and broccoli in one bed and between beans in another. Good job we like leeks!

Over the summer I have weeded the beds and occasionally earthed them up to keep out the light and ensure a longer, white shaft. At the end of August we started to lift our first leeks as we needed them, by carefully using a fork to prise them out of the ground. Our soil is quite stodgy and has a lot of clay so you have to be really careful not to pull them up too quickly and snap the root off.

The leek bed at the beginning of November

They have just grown and grown in this bed. The others we have in other beds around the plot aren’t as big as these but we should be able to leave them in the ground until April of next year so there is time for them to get bigger. We love leek and potato soup so have made plenty of it this year (and filled the freezer!) Leeks are also great in chicken dishes so we have had chicken, leek and mushroom pasta, chicken and leek pie, leek and potato gratin and even had leeks just gently fried in butter as a side dish. They are really versatile and most certainly one of my ‘must grows’ at the plot.