leeks

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rowlandwells

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leeks
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:10 »
just trying to get some good advise about growing leeks before the new growing season starts my father in law used to grow lovely leeks really thick white shanks

although we grow leeks ourselves there not up to his standards or possibly yours our leeks are thin but tasty when cooked so how to improve on size that is the question when's the best time to start sowing leek seed and  in trays and prick out into plug trays when large enough to handle  :unsure:

then transplant them into rows and to get longer shanks should one ridge the soil to the leek as it grows or another alternative I was thinking about planting the leeks in a ridge dibbing them deep in the ridge

then It  could be I'm not feeding or prepping the ground properly because leeks seem to be a greedy critter so may be I need to consider what's the best thing to add to the ground when preparing the ground I have been using horse manure prior to planting  may be cattle manure mite be a better option or 6X fertilizer

anyway not sure on what's best for my leek bed any advise would be very much welcome

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sunshineband

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Re: leeks
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2018, 09:55 »
I sow my main leeks indoors in deep trays (large cat litter trays, thanks to advice from DD some years ago) quite thinly in four rows. They germinate at about 15C but after that they go in a frost free greenhouse until they can be hardened off and go in a cold frame (usually in March) I use a mix of reconstituted coir, multipurpose or sieved hm compost and vermiculite, which is light but has little nutrients however
They get fed with whatever liquid food I have to hand, diluted to half strength, once every two weeks, upping this to once a week when they get to about six leaves

I plant them out to follow first early potatoes, but they could be planted out sooner if you have space.

They do get to around pencil thickness and are relatively easy to separate from each other if I tip the whole trayful out at once. As I trim the roots before putting in the hole, a bit of damage does not matter. I pinch back the leaves to stick up by about two or three inches for the hole once they are watered in. That way I don't lose any by washing them into the hole below ground level

I feed the soil with Blood Fish & Bone prior to planting, and again early September

I use enviromesh over them from planting through to November to save damage from leek moth or si ilar beasties

And that's it.
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lettice

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Re: leeks
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2018, 10:51 »
I sow my Leeks around April in an unheated greenhouse in 4 inch deep trays. They germinate in a few weeks.
My choice for many years has been Musselburgh.
At end May or first week of June I plant them out when they are about 6-8 inch tall.
Plant in rows, six inch between each row.
Use a dibber (well old cut down brush handle) to make a hole about 4 inches, as with the root the leek sits proud a good 2-4 inches above the soil. Make a hole every six inches.
Fill hole with water and drop the leek in (I do not trim my roots), then over the day keep topping the hole up with water, trying not to break the top edge so it does not become a muddy bath.
Grow them all around the plot but the majority in a raised bed. You can grow things between the leeks when they are growing like radish.
Nothing special compost wise, just a light dig over in the spring and work in lightly some of my homemade compost.
They prefer the soil to be firm or they flop over, so hence the light dig above.
My variety produces from late October through to March. They are tall plants and produce a good upright leek all of the same size.
Never get any problems at all with my leeks and nothing seems to want to bother it insect wise.
Here are some pics;
leek.jpg

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Mr Dog

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Re: leeks
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2018, 14:00 »
Pretty much the same method as lettice - I start mine mid-late April and leave a foot between rows (mainly so I can get in to hand weed when necessary). My own personal view is that people try to get them going too early and suffer poor germination and slow growth due to the cold. My gut feeling from experience is that those grown from earlier sowings are also most prone to bolting. As well as the old favourite Musselburgh, I also like Jaune de Poitou, an early, sweet yellow leek.

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Goosegirl

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Re: leeks
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2018, 14:09 »
Leek varieties can vary not only by their harvesting season but also their stems. Musselburgh has a short thick stem, other have a more slender and tall stem, so have a look at a catalogue to see what's available. Personally I grow for taste and something that can be harvested over the winter. I grow Autumn Mammoth 2 (a.k.a. Tornado) and get the seeds from D. T. Brown as I find they produce a decent white stem without any messing about. I sow the seeds in 6"-8" pots using MPC, leave them to get thumb-height, take them out and gently separate them, then individually re-pot into taller pots. A bit of dilute feed with added seaweed content to settle them in seems to work ok.
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Aidy

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Re: leeks
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2018, 15:30 »
Over the last couple of years I have changed the way I want my leeks.
The method pretty much as everyone above has mentioned but I sow them later as I dont want them all to be big (and bolt early) I sow a batch mid March, a row's worth then I sow two rows worth in May,these are then planted later as we prefer smaller leeks for meals but whole rather than sliced. I believe the french prefer them smaller and they are sweeter, the bigger ones we use for soups and pies.
Each to their own but for method DD's is a good one to follow.
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mumofstig

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Re: leeks
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2018, 16:30 »
Just for those who haven't seen it before DD's method is here
Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays in Growing FAQs and other Information - Page 1 of 2

It's a bit sad that Photobucket have ruined the pictures though  :(
Lesley x
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rowlandwells

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Re: leeks
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2018, 16:40 »
thanks all for your replies that have been added to my garden log for spring sowings it seems as though you all favour growing your leeks in the ground rather than a ridge?

also if I remember the father in law used to grow musselburh  and it still seems to be a favourite leek for most gardeners

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DD.

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Re: leeks
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 18:51 »
Just for those who haven't seen it before DD's method is here
Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays in Growing FAQs and other Information - Page 1 of 2

It's a bit sad that Photobucket have ruined the pictures though  :(

I've dragged the originals off Photomuckit and replaced the old links. Must do that with my pea thread!
Did it really tell you to do THAT on the packet?

Seeds are SOWN, planting's for plants (and bulbs & tubers)!

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rowlandwells

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Re: leeks
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 17:21 »
I looked through one of my seed catalogues to day after much deliberations reading all the replies again and thought damn it I going to try a new variety called Porbella pelleted seed enough seed in the packet to last me a couple of years

so its leeks leeks and more leeks hopefully with all that advise from you all I mite even get a few leeks probably  :lol:

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DD.

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Re: leeks
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 17:25 »
I've got several different varieties kicking around, plus one new one this year from the HSL - Coloma.

"A selection from Swiss Giant, this is an early, reliable and heavy cropping leek. Produces sturdy, strong and upright plants with smooth, dark green leaves and long white stems."

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victoria park

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Re: leeks
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 17:35 »
Maybe not the same for everyone, but I have found one thing not to do is sow too early. Any time I've sown around the same time as onion seeds, the leeks have had a tendency to bolt. Sowing later and planning for an Autumn/Winter and early Spring harvest seems best to me. I usually grow Musselburgh, but have dabbled a bit.

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DD.

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Re: leeks
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 17:59 »
I sow mine in March - and now have to grow the things under mesh - thanks to Allium Leaf Miner!  :mad: >:(



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