How to Grow Leeks
All About Leeks
The leek is a member of the onion family, but has a flavor described as more refined, subtle, and sweet. Wild leeks, called "ramps," more closely resemble scallions and have a much harsher flavor than their cultivated cousins.
How to Plant & Grow Leeks
- Soil: Leeks grow best in rich, fertile soil. Compost or dried manure should be worked into the soil weeks before planting.
- Starting Seeds: Leeks require a long growing season, so they must be started indoors in flats 8-12 weeks before the last expected spring frost date. Seeds should be planted ¼ inch deep. When seedlings are 3 inches high, thin them to 1-2 inches apart.
- Transplanting: After the last spring frost, transplant the seedlings to the garden, planting them 4-6 inches apart in rows 12-24 inches apart.
- Growing: Throughout the growing season, soil should be mounded up around the plant stalks to blanch the bottoms of the leek (a process that will keep the bottoms of the leeks white and tender).
- Harvesting: Leeks are among the most cold tolerant of vegetables. As a result, they can be harvested throughout the winter (if mulched) and actually store best when left in the ground.
Did You Know? Fun Facts About Leeks
Leeks figured prominently in the Egyptian diet, and they were also a favorite with the Romans. Leeks were also known to have a soothing effect on the throat. In fact, Emperor Nero ate leeks frequently to clear his voice before singing recitals.