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Plant leeks in a sunny spot in soil that is fertile and well-drained. Leeks thrive in traditional garden beds, raised beds, or even in tall containers.

Features:

Leeks take between 6-10 months to grow.

Irrigation:

·         To grow leeks from seed, fill small pots or seed modules with potting mix that has a fine tilth – seed compost would work well.

·         Sow one seed per pot or module and cover with a fine layer of potting mix.

·         Keep the soil moist, but not over wet.

·         The seeds should germinate within two weeks.

·         Once the seedlings have grown to 6-8 inches tall, you can plant them outside in early summer.

·         To plant out your seedlings, make holes around 6 inches deep with a dibber or pencil, spaced around 6 inches apart in rows around 12 inches apart.

·         Tease out the leeks from their pots, trim the roots to about 2 inches long, and gently insert one per hole.

·         Covering the stems in this way will blanch them so they will be white, and taste sweeter.

·         Fill the holes with water, but don’t fill them with soil. As the leeks grow, you can gently pull the soil around the base, but do not let it fall between the leaves as it will get trapped between the layers.

·         Feed leeks every 3-4 weeks with liquid fertilizer.

·         You can harvest your leeks in late summer when they are small and tender, or in the fall or winter.

·         If you leave some of your leeks to flower, you can save the seed for the next year, although they will not grow true to type.

Fertilization:

Use an all-purpose or high-nitrogen fertilizer to feed your leeks. Apply continuous release fertilizer before transplanting and every 1 to 2 months thereafter, or you can apply a liquid fertilizer every 1 to 2 weeks, as per the instructions.

Some good organic fertilizers for leeks include blood meal, blood and bone, fish emulsion, and granular fertilizers with a higher N number in the NPK numbers (e.g., 8-3-4).

Transplanting:

Transplant leeks when they’ve reached at least 6 inches (15 cm) in height and all threat of frost has passed.

Harvesting:

Harvest them when they are at least 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Larger varieties will easily grow 2-inch stalks and larger.

Pest and diseases:

·         Leek rust: which appears as orange or brown blotches on the leaves, is a common issue, but won’t harm the plant unless the infection is severe. Avoid overcrowding and dispose of infected plant matter. You should also practice good crop rotation, as planting them in the same spot the following year will increase the likelihood of problems.

·         Allium leaf miner and leek moth can also be an issue in some areas, and where present can weaken the plants. If you are affected, then the following year cover the crops with mesh to prevent them from accessing the plants.

Control:

Companion planting is a good way to ward off pests and improve planting success. ‘Leeks are good companions planted with carrots, onions, garlic, beets, celery, tomatoes, fruit trees, parsley,’ says Clapp.

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