I didn’t eat leeks growing up. I didn’t even know what they were. But one of the best things about a farmer’s market is finding out about new to you plants. Last week, we tried fava tops. They were OK, but not our favorite. Maybe I need to learn a different way of preparing them besides steaming. They might be good in salad… But I digress. Leeks. Several years ago, I asked the farmer about what to do with leeks. He said to make soup. So, I took some home and made soup. It was very yummy. Since then I have bought leeks regularly and have discovered the wonder that is roasted leeks. Also, buttered leeks are A. Maz.Ing. We eat a lot of them in season. If eating an onion as a side dish seems strange, just know that all the sulfurs dissipate and the sugars caramelize, creating amazing goodness.
They are not cheap though, so I reckoned I should try my hand at growing them. I bought some seeds, and started them. They died. So I bought some starts. I read up on planting leeks and all the “books” said to dig a trench to plant the leeks in. Then, as they grow, you should fill the trench in. This is so the leeks blanch, creating more of the white part, aka the good part. (Although if you use the recipe linked above, you can use the green parts too.) So I dug the trench, which promptly filled in with the first spring rain. Hmm. Not a good plan for where I live.
So I came up with something else. I looked around our place and found a piece of rebar about 1/2 an inch thick. Below you can see the “tool” I used last week. Somehow I lost the rebar. And as soon as I finished in this area, I lost this tool as well. Now I’m using an arrow that was destined for the trash. So you can see, you can use whatever you have.
Then I poked it into the ground a few inches down and wiggled it around a bit to create a slightly larger hole. With the arrow, I have to wiggle it more.
I separated our one leek plant and, as gently as possible, I poked it down into the hole. Then I carefully firmed the dirt up around it.If you look closely, you can see the tiny little leek seedling poking up out of the ground.
I tried this method last year, with GREAT success. I had a great leek crop, which I just finished eating. The leeks had a nice ratio of white to green. This year I’m adding another “experiment.” I’m planting my cabbages around my leeks. I’m hoping that the scent of the leeks will confuse the cabbage butterflies. They are so pretty, but their caterpillars are so destructive. Finally, I added a not too thick layer of wood chip mulch to keep in moisture and keep out weeds.
I hope you will try this method of planting leeks. It’s so easy and leeks are so good. And really good for you as well.