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Leek Growing Information

You can start leeks from either seeds or transplants. In colder climates, seeds can be started indoors, anywhere from eight to 12 weeks before your last spring frost. Move outdoors when temperatures begin to stay above 5 degrees C, and harden them off slowly (for about seven days) before transplanting them to the garden.

When planting leeks, space your seeds at least 6 inches apart. To encourage a succulent white stem (the edible part of the plant most frequently used in cooking), leeks must be blanched. This is another way of saying they should be hidden from the sun so that part of the plant doesn’t make chlorophyll and turn green. To do so, plant seeds about 16cm deep in the soil and continue to mound the soil up around the leek as it continues to grow out of the ground, starting around when the stems are an inch thick. I push a garden stake into the soil.

Most varieties of leeks require a fairly long growing season of 120–150 days, although some modern cultivars have been bred for shorter seasons lasting about 90 days. Unlike their cousin, the onion, leeks don’t die back and signal they are ready to harvest. Instead, they are ready once the base has at least a three-inch white section and feels firm and solid. Remove from the soil by twisting and pulling or digging.

Leeks have shallow root systems and need to be watered frequently in order to thrive. In most environments, a weekly deep watering will suffice

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