Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
Description: The longest stalked of the leeks renowned for its flavour. A reliable, hardy, long thin leek of the best quality, light green leaves. Fine autumn/winter maturing variety popular in Europe. A good gardeners choice for large tasty stalks. Mild onion flavour is superb in soups, stews, casseroles or raw in salads. They are easy to grow from seed.
Germination: 10 to 14 days.
Cool: Sep 1 to Jan 31
Temperate to Subtropical Aug 1 to Feb 27
Tropical: Jan 1 to Mar 31
Sow: Soak seed a minimum 2 hours before planting 12mm deep using seed raising mix in trays or sprinkle into the prepared garden and cover. Keep moist while germinating. Transplant when seedlings are about 20 cms high preferably in a trench filled with composted, enriched soil in a sunny VERY well drained position. Handle the roots VERY carefully when transplanting. Water into 15cms apart holes, in rows 30 cms apart and backfill with the soil. Leek plants reach to 60 cms high and 20cms wide. Make successive sowings every 2-3 weeks during the sowing period for continuous supply.
Care: Keep well watered and feed regularly with side dressings of liquid fertiliser every 2 to 3 weeks. This will result in quick growth and tender, tasty stems. Prefers rich, well drained soil. As the plants grow, hill up the trench to whiten the bulbous stem. Water frequently as needed but don’t allow to become waterlogged as this results in tough leaf growth. Mulch well.
Hint: Never plant where the same types of veggies have been grown the year before, swap beds every year to prevent soil borne diseases.
Harvest: 110 days.
Companion Planting: Carrots and leeks mutually protect each other from insects. They also grow well with celery.
Bad Companions: Parsley, climbing beans, peas.
Uses: The white part of the soft bulb is used more often and approximately 8 cms of the green leaf can also be eaten for the flavour and texture and frozen for use, many people waste this part. Use raw in salads, stir fries, soups, savoury quiches, pies and flans. It is also popular as an onion substitute.
Seed Saving: Save one plant at the end of the season to go to seed for next season’s crop.