Leeks, a member of the Allium family, are an excellent addition to any garden. They’re versatile in the kitchen and relatively easy to grow. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to grow and harvest leeks, their nutritional benefits, and some recipe tips for this fantastic vegetable.
Leeks prefer a location with at least 8 hours of direct sunlight and rich, loose, well-draining soil. They need deep, fertile soil with high organic matter levels and a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH.
Start by sowing leek seeds in a seed bed around four weeks before the last frost date, in rows 15 cm apart and 2 cm deep. Transplant the seedlings when they reach pencil thickness, usually in mid to late June, into holes 20 to 25 cm deep and 10 cm apart in staggered rows. Water the seedlings in the holes and do not fill them back in, to allow the stems to swell and grow bigger.
Leeks have shallow root systems and need to be watered frequently—roughly an inch per week—to thrive. In most environments, a weekly deep watering will suffice.
Most leeks mature 100 to 120 days after sowing the seeds4. Begin the harvest when the stalks are about an inch (2.5 cm.) across. Depending upon your climate, you could be harvesting leek plants from late summer until early spring.
To harvest leeks, hold them by the base, then twist and pull gently. Stubborn leeks can be carefully loosened out of the soil with a small shovel6. After harvesting, clean the leeks by cutting off the end leaves, slicing a strip down the middle and rinsing them.
Nutrional Benefits of Leeks
Leeks are not just tasty; they’re also packed with nutrients. A 100-gram serving of leeks contains 61 calories, 14.2 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of protein, and 1.8 grams of fiber. They’re also rich in vitamins A, C, K, and B6, as well as the minerals iron and manganese.
Leeks can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to stir-fries. Here are a few recipe ideas:
- Buttered Leeks: This simple dish involves slowly and gently cooking leeks in their own juice.
- Potato Leek Soup: A French classic, this creamy soup is quick, easy, and comforting.
- Cheesy Leeks: Great as a side dish for roast chicken, especially if you are serving vegetarians as well as meat eaters.
Remember, leeks add depth to any dish and are elegant enough to stand on their own. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and find new ways to incorporate this wonderful vegetable into your meals.
Happy gardening and bon appétit!
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- How to Grow Leeks – Growing In The Garden
- Leeks: Nutrition Facts and Potential Health Benefits
- How To Grow Leeks | Easy Method for BIG Harvests
- Growing leeks in home gardens | UMN Extension
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- How to harvest leeks: expert tips for lifting perfect leeks
- When and How to Harvest Leeks – Read This First!
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- Buttered leeks
- Potato Leek Soup
- Cheesy leeks
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- Growing Great Leeks From Seed to Harvest & Best Seasonal Varieties
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- How to grow Leeks
- Easy and High Yield, Tips for Growing Leeks at Home for Beginners
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- Leeks: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information …
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- Preparing Leeks And How To Cook Leeks | Good Housekeeping UK
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- How to Cook Leeks
- 21 Leek Recipes You’ll Want to Bookmark – Food Network