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How to Harvest Leeks

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How to Harvest Leeks

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Harvested leeks image by Jeremy Keith: Flickr.com

Overview

Leeks are root vegetables that look and taste similar to onions. As opposed to onions and garlic, which leeks are related to, the green stalk portion of the leek is the part that is cooked with and consumed. Leeks can grow in small home gardens or in larger commercial gardens.

Step 1

Determine which variety of leek you are growing. One fast-growing leek is the Varna variety, which takes only 50 days of growth to harvest. Varna leeks have slender stalks and grow in bunches. The Laura variety, however, takes 180 days until it is ready for harvest. Laura leeks can be identified by their blue-green stems and hardy nature.

Step 2

Wait for leeks to grow to 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. If you're not sure what variety of leek you are growing, or you are not sure your leeks have grown to full maturity, measure the diameter of the stalk at its largest point with a measuring tape to determine if it is ready for harvest.

Step 3

Loosen the dirt surrounding the leek gently with a garden fork. Press the fork straight down several inches away from the leek, then angle the fork down to loosen the dirt underneath. Avoid catching the roots or lifting up the plant itself with the fork.

Step 4

Gently pull on the stalks of the leek with your hands. If the dirt is loose enough, the entire plant should pull right out.

Step 5

Trim the stalks with gardening scissors to make the top of the plant look like a "V" shape. The stalks on the outside of the plant should be shorter, and the stalks on the inside of the plant should form a point. Trimming will prevent water loss, which can make leeks limp before they make it to the table for dinner.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Garden fork

References

  • In Depth Info: How to Grow and Harvest Leeks
  • Dave's Garden: Harvesting Leeks
  • University of Wisconsin: Leeks

Who Can Help

  • Gardening Know How: How to Grow Leeks
Keywords: how to grow leeks, how to harvest leeks, harvesting leeks, when to pick leeks, when to eat leeks

About this Author

Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for various print and Internet publications. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.

Photo by: Jeremy Keith: Flickr.com

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