What I'm harvesting this spring: leeks

22:35, Oct 25 2012

I love leeks. I love the way they sweeten up a chicken pie. I love the way they look like fireworks when they grow. And I especially like how low maintenance and easy they are to grow. We've been eating them from the garden for a while, but I got the feeling they were about to go to seed, so I dug the lot of them up. I seem now to have a leek glut, and there's only so many chicken pies we can handle. 

Still, I'm pretty stoked - this is my first leek harvest. 

Here's the lowdown on leeks. They're a member of the allium family, along with onions and garlic. The difference is leeks don't get a bulb, they just form a big fat stem. As they grow, you mound up soil around the stem to blanch it, making it white and tender. 

I sowed Winter Giant leek seeds in January, in a tray of seed raising mix that I kept moist by covering with a wet cloth until the seedlings emerged.

I waited a few weeks, then planted them out in a bed that I'd put heaps of composted manure and blood and bone into, and that was it.

I fed them with my seaweed tea sporadically, mounded up the soil occasionally, and lo and behold, months and months passed, the leeks became almost the size of what I could buy at the market.

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I've left one in the ground to bolt and put out a huge sparkler and harvest the seeds for next year.

Now what to do with the rest of them? 

Do you grow leeks? How do you tend them? And how do you use them in your cooking?

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