How to Grow Leeks

Fresh leeks image by mverivaki/Flickr.com

Overview

Leeks are members of the onion family, but much easier to grow, and with a lighter flavor. To harvest them, you must dig them up, as you would any root vegetable. Leeks can be substituted in any recipe requiring onions, or chopped up and used in salads.

Step 1

Decide on a growing location. If your leek seeds will be sown in your vegetable garden, chances are it will be a sunny location, which is perfect. The best soil is in a previously-planted bed of another vegetable, offering added nutrients. If you don't have such a location, work compost into the soil. Preparing the garden bed can be done as early as the autumn of the year before planting.

Step 2

Prepare garden rows for your leek seeds. With your hoe tilted so that the point is angled at the ground, draw a long line with it, as long as you would like your row to be. The soil should spill over to one side. Make another line about a foot in the opposite direction, parallel to the first line, allowing the soil to spill over to the center. The height of the center mound to the hoe line (moat) should be about 8 inches.

Step 3

Plant your leek seeds 1/8 inch below the soil at the top of your row mound. Run them along the top of the mound, at no particular spacing. Cover them with soil. This can be done as soon as the last frost in your area has passed, in spring. However, if your garden does get frost after planting, the leek seeds/seedlings should not be harmed. Most leek varieties require 120 to 170 days of growing time.

Step 4

Keep the soil moist, but not overly wet, while the seeds are germinating. When the plants have popped through the soil, you may begin using the moats for watering. Once a week, fill the moats on either side of the row with water. If you live in a very hot, dry area, you may need to water more often. Check the soil an inch, below the bottom of the moat. If it is dry, you need to water.

Step 5

Thin your leek seedlings so that they are 6 to 9 inches apart when they reach about 3 inches tall.

Step 6

Harvest your leeks when the leaves reach 7 to 8 inches long and the stems are between 1 and 2 inches across. Dig up each leek plant as needed. Be sure to harvest all the leeks before the first freezing temperatures of your location.

Things You'll Need

  • Leek seeds
  • Compost (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Hoe

References

  • Garden Action
  • USA Gardener
  • Harvest Wizard
Keywords: grow leeks, plant leeks, care of leeks

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.

Photo by: mverivaki/Flickr.com