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.
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.
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.
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.
Gently pull on the stalks of the leek with your hands. If the dirt is loose enough, the entire plant should pull right out.
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 Will Need
- Measuring tape
- Garden fork
- Plant leeks in late winter or early spring, approximately 1 month before the last frost occurs in your geographical area.