Grow leeks in your vegetable garden and you'll always be able to enjoy their delicate, subtle flavor.
Leeks are a cool-weather crop. They'll tolerate warm temperatures, but the results are better if the days are cool. Temperatures under 75 degrees Fahrenheit produce the best yields. Plant leeks from seed in the spring four to six weeks before the average date of last frost and from transplants in the fall for a late harvest. Plant transplants in spring if you want to speed up the crop to avoid a hot summer. Plant the seeds 1/8 inch deep and thin them to 6 to 9 inches apart. Plant transplants in 6-inch deep holes, in single rows or wide rows.
Leeks like a place in full sun and thrive in rich, well-worked soil with good drainage. To grow large, white, succulent leeks, blanch the lower part of the stem by hilling the soil up around the stalk as it develops. Give leeks plenty of water to keep them growing strongly. Around midsummer, start removing the top half of the leaves. This will encourage greater growth of the leek stalk.
The time from planting to harvest is about 80 days from transplants and 120 days from seed. Pull the leeks as you need them, but harvest them all before frost.
Types of Leeks
There are several varieties of leeks available to home vegetable gardeners. We've listed the different varieties of leeks below.
- Broad London, harvest at 30 days from seed, produces thick mild-flavored stems.
- Titan, harvest at 100 days, is earlier and larger than Broad London and has a broader base.
- American Flag, harvest at 95 days, is easy and flavorful.