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Discussion Starter #1
Now it's leeks. Thought I would go back to a few photos showing how I'm growing leeks this year in my 'no till' garden and blanching them as the grow with grass clippings mulch. So far, so good.

Here it shows back in mid March a week after the seeds are planted indoors and starting to germinate. They then grew under grow lights until about early May before going out to the zone 3 small greenhouse I use here:



Here this picture shows onions that have grown by May 29. The leeks are about the same size. When ready to transplant, they are about the thickness and lenght of an ordinary pencil. Also, the tops are clipped off with scissors as they grow in the flats to keep them uniform and easily seen to be able to handle later for transplanting:





This shows a leek plant when being the size for transplanting around end of May for the zone 3 garden. Note the individual plant and nice extensive root system. Those roots can be clipped to about a couple inches, though I don't bother. A small trench is prepared in the garden row and some composted sheep or cow manure is added with some peat mixed in. The plants are individually poked down into that growing medium.



Now it's mid July, and the plants have been growing in the trench loosely lined with grass clippings mulch. Time to do a little 'adjusting' to help them along to a stage where they'll get boosted for nutrients and also more mulch added along their neck length to keep them blanched white without the use of soil. The mulch also aids in weed suppression.

Here shows the mid July leeks growing after some preliminary weeding along the row lengthe where the leeks are growing. Most are around 8 inches from the base to the tip.



A bucket of finished new compost and a pile of mulch to the left is now to be utilized for this mid season leek garden culture:



The photo here shows the row fortified with the compost for extra nutrient to help them along to maturity for good sized leeks hopefully.



Now, the grass clippings is mulched in along the sides and loosely against the stalks. As they grow more mulch will be packed in against the sides. The plants need to have fully their tops exposed for photosynthesis, so care to not cover them completely with mulch is necessary:



Now, they keep growing and the mulch helps retain ground moisture as well. The nice thing also is without hilling the leeks with soil, they are much cleaner at harvest. You know when you buy or grow leeks conventionally in dirt? When you split them to clean them, they invariably have soil particles to wash off. With mulching there is none, or very little of that to contend with.

Grow out now will be with some weekly manure tea waterings for nitrogen boost that they enjoy for solid green top growth, and the mulch, if done correctly, will assure stems blanching white. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just another photo to show the harvest already of a few baby leeks that are so good to have early. I planted 4 rows for a total of about 700 leeks, so they can be harvested throught the summer and the main early fall harvest will still be substantial with large leeks then.....That is the plan and hope anyway.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
susieM said:
Over here, the tops of the tiny leeks are cut off at planting, to help the roots to grow and thrive.
When I first plant the leek seeds and they grow to the stage that the seed head is shed, I begin clipping the tops to keep them at about 4 inches when they are tiny and thin. Then, as they grow in the flats, I keep them trimmed to about 6 to 8 inches by the time they are transplanted here in May.
After they are in the ground, I don't clip the tops on the well established transplants that, like I mentioned, are about the size and diameter of a writing pencil. The only difference this year that I'm doing from the past, is
'hilling' them with mulch, rather than soil. With good soil fertility one should expect some decent sized from seed grown. Wish I had a picture of the ones we entered in the ag fair one year that did well.
Oh well, if things go right toward harvest, I'll hopefully show pictures of how these leeks are doing.
 

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looks good moonwolf....i have never grown a leek ..but would like to someday.if i ever ate them i dont remeber but am sure i would like them.
 

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That is the question. Leeks are nearly as invasive as garlic chives IME. I planted some for my mother in 1983 at my house; she'd been trying for years to get some started. I transplanted babies to her house in 1985; I believe I created "Energizer Bunnies". I'm not sure she ever ate more than one from all this effort but, boy, oh, boy, she told EVERYONE she grew leeks! She passed 10/2/05 but her leeks are blooming again now! As are mine. (I plan to dig up her 45 year old pink hyacinths to go with me when I move; I have a feeling some of those blasted leeks will show up--different garden but why not???)

katy *who just really doesn't get this hoity toity stuff--it's an onion for heaven's sake*
 

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I love my leek patch... one of the joys of the winter garden. Looks good moonwolf and the pictorials are nice. You do essentially all the things that I do in starting, transplanting, and (like you) I use a mulch to blanch the leeks as opposed to hilling with dirt. However, I do not plant mine in rows like you have - I do a raised wide bed of them and use good compost for the first mulch layer... followed by chopped straw - lots of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
rose2005 said:
Elkhound they are like a very mild ramp. I love them and use them a lot in my cooking. Wish I had some in my garden Monnwolf...thanks for sharing your photos...it's given me some thought to next years garden.

Rose :)
rose,

Here's an awesome site for leek recipes.....something like 870 of them. I had it bookmarked on my old computer and then forgot about it until reading your post somehow reminded me of it.

http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=leek

I love cock a leekie soup, and I'm told they dehydrate well for storage.
Living in the north here zone 3, leeks don't survive in winter. The second good frost makes them taste better. After that, they need to be harvested. None grow back the following spring. This variety shown is 'American Flag', but I've tried others like Carenstan (sp?) and one with more 'bluish' leaf colour can't remember the name. American Flag is an excellent variety.

elkhound,
If you like garlic, ramps, shallots or any of the alliums like that, You'll like leeks, though they are eaten cooked that make them mild tasting and unique. Eaten raw, they are pungent and can be quite fibrous textured. Baby leeks, a few in salad raw are excellent!
 
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