*Related to onions and look like overgrown scallions.
*A wonderful, flavorful, mild-tasting vegetable.
*A vegetable that is cold tolerant, easy to grow, and yet for some odd reason, expensive to buy. They are eaten cooked.
*Like other onions, they like plenty of water and a rich soil.
*You can grow two separate crops –summer leeks and winter leeks.
*Use a sunny spot, and be careful not to grow on a garden patch that recently had brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) because the onions will grow poorly.
*Lime the soil is the pH is below 6.0 and give it plenty of organic matter. The soil needs to be pulverized but not to a great depth because the plants are shallow rooted.
*You can start both summer and winter leeks in the greenhouse in early March. Later on in the spring, transplant them into rows in the garden, spaced at 6 inches apart. For both crops to work, you plant two different types of varieties, an early-maturing one for the summer and a later variety for the winter.
*Make a deep hole and drop each seedling in. Leeks are usually blanched and this is how the process begins. Do not compress the soil around the seedlings. From time to time, add additional soil around the plant to make a mound. This produces the long, white bulb that is wonderful for cooking.
*You can start harvesting whenever you need a few leeks, and finish off the summer variety by the beginning of fall.
*The winter ones can be dug up as long as the ground remains unfrozen. If you put a plastic A-frame tunnel over the row, you can dig up leeks all through the winter. Leeks that winter over in frozen soil can often be dug up and eaten in the spring before they go to seed.
*Leeks are harder to dig up than onions. Pry them loose with a digging fork and then gently pull them by grasping them at the base.
*They can be stored for several weeks in the root cellar or refrigerator.
For further reading:
**Learn how to cut leeks for culinary purposes from Eat Your Beets.