Mar / Apr
Jan / Feb, Mar / Apr, Sep / Oct, Nov / Dec

Why Grow It

Leeks are quite easy to grow and will withstand even the harshest winter. For many GIYers they are the only crop left in the soil during the winter months. They are another of the classic ‘stockpot’ vegetables. We eat the white part or stem of leeks – it is more accurately a rolled leaf rather than a stem (if you want to be pedantic about it).

  • Leeks are heavy feeders so it’s best to grow them in fertile soil that has been enriched with plenty of farmyard manure or compost. Spread a general purpose organic fertiliser before planting out.
  • Leeks can be grown in modules before being transplanted, but are probably easiest to grow in a seedbed outside.
  • For early leeks, sow in March. For maincrop leeks, sow April.
  • If sowing outside, sow thinly, 1cm deep in rows 15cm apart.
  • If sowing in modules, sow one or two seeds per module, 1cm deep.
  • Leeks will be ready to plant out about two months after sowing when they are about 1cm thick and 20cm long.
  • To transplant, make a 15cm hole with a hoe handle, crow bar or dibber, drop the leek in and then fill the hole gently with water. Do not backfill with soil – over the coming weeks it will fill itself.
  • Leave 15cm between plants and 30cm between rows.
  • Some people advise snipping the root and top before planting, but this reduces yields so it is not something we recommend.
  • Lift the leek with a fork or pull and trim the roots off.
  • Winter varieties can stay in the ground until needed.
  • Blue Solaise
  • Hannibal
  • Bluegreen Winter
  • Northern Lights
  • The main problem with leeks is rust, a fungus disease. Though the leeks look unattractive, yield will only be slightly reduced and the leeks are still completely edible.
  • Some GIYers use kitchen roll inserts to ‘earth up’ leeks – pop the insert over the leek and it does the same job as earthing up. Nice idea.
  • Be careful not to get soil in to the heart of the leek when earthing up – this can be a nightmare to get out when cooking.