The leek (Garlic leeks) is very easy to grow and it is a vegetable that can be planted whatever the season by choosing the method that suits the climate. It is therefore perfect for starting a vegetable garden if you have no experience in the matter because you can successfully cultivate it every time. Here’s how to sow or plant, care for and harvest good garden leeks.
Sowing and planting leeks
This is between January 15 and September 15 that leeks can be sown, knowing however that at the beginning of the year, sowing in place is only possible in regions with an extremely mild climate because the soil temperature must be at least 12°C. In harsh climates, sowing is carried out under hot frames to be opened during the day during the sunniest hours as soon as the plants have emerged. These sowings under layer make it possible to obtain early leeks. Be that as it may, the staggering of sowing allows harvesting from the month of June.
Sowing in the ground
Leek loves soils rich in organic matter, furniture, deep et humus et well drained because a soggy ground is detrimental to it. It must be installed in a sunny area of the garden.
In the month of May, we start by preparing the boards. This requires good hoeing to a depth of 20 cm in order to obtain loose soil that is aerated with a grelinette and which then only needs to be weeded manually and then flattened with the back of the rake. The leek is sown in place as follows :
- Create furrows spaced from each other by about 20 cm,
- sow the seeds,
- Cover with a thin layer of soil,
- Water in rain and keep the soil moist thereafter.
Thinning takes place when the plants reach ten centimeters in height and allows the most vigorous to be kept, knowing that they must be spaced 12 cm apart.
Sowing under chassis
The leek seeds are sown 1 cm apart, covered with a thin layer of fine soil and then watered with rain. It is then necessary to install a protection such as a tunnel. If you sow under a frame, then you have to close it to protect the seeds from the cold. Until the seedlings emerge, it is important that the soil is always moist, but avoid excess water. The frame is open a few hours a day when the sun is present.
Sow in trays
In this specific case, once the sowing is done, the soil is sprayed, taking care not to dig up the seeds, then the container is placed in a room. very bright where the temperature is maintained at 18 or 19°C. The soil must always remain moist. Germination is rapid since the young leek plants sprout in a fortnight. They will first be transplanted into pots where they will wait, always under cover, until May, when it will be time to plant them in the garden.
If one wishes avoid seedlingswe can simply buy leek plants in the garden center because they are ready to be transplanted.
The transplanting leeks sown in January and February can be carried out from the very first days of April until the end of May, which will make it possible to harvest from October. As for early leeks, which are harvested in the spring, they are transplanted in November after sowing in August.
Maintaining your leek crop
There is nothing complicated about growing leeks.
In times of drought and high heat, it is necessary to carry out copious watering. But the soil should always be moist. Avoid excess water, however, which promotes fungal diseases and rotting.
bump the earth
Hilling the leeks regularly is essential and you have to start before the winter period. This makes it possible to obtain very white and tender barrels.
Hoeing aerates the soil, allows weeding and limits water consumption.
At the time of planting, add compost because the leeks are greedy. At the first hoeing, it is also necessary to bury a fertilizer in the ground.
Pests and diseases
Leek can be attacked by various pests. Here are the most common and the solutions to prevent infestation or get rid of these undesirables.
- Ringworm : anti-insect net and decoction of tansy,
- Leek leaf miner : insect trap or net,
- onion fly : decoction of tansy and/or maceration of tomato leaves in prevention.
Leek is sensitive to mildew when the weather is both humid and mild. A spray of Bordeaux mixture or even of horsetail manure avoids the installation of the fungus responsible for this disease.
We can fear the leek rust favored by the abundant rains in autumn. Similarly, leeks planted too tightly are vulnerable to it, which is why it is recommended to leave enough space between the plants and between the beds as this allows air to circulate better. Also, don’t overuse nitrogen-rich fertilizers that promote rust. The horsetail decoction is an effective solution.
Rotation des cultures
It is strongly recommended to opt for the rotation des cultures every three or four years because this allows the soil to restructure itself and it is also a means of fighting against the installation of parasites and diseases. Leeks are therefore not always grown in the same place.
Harvest the leek
The leek harvest takes place 5 months after sowing. Thus, the first can be tasted from July. But if you want to produce your winter leeks, it is obviously essential to choose hardy varieties because they are able to withstand low temperatures.
To pull up the leeks, a spade fork is used to dig deep into the barrels without damaging them. All that remains is to lift them with the tool in order to get them out of the ground. In winter, the ideal is to harvest in sunny weather. The land is easier to work than in heavy rain.
After harvest, we conserve his garden leeks in the refrigerator drawer for 5 to 6 days. For a longer period, freezing is a good solution. Raw and cut into sections, they keep 2 to 3 months in the freezer. If you wish to freeze them for a longer period, the leeks should be blanched for a few minutes. They are then cooled by immersing them in ice water and then drained. They must be perfectly dry to be placed in freezer bags or plastic boxes with airtight lids. At temperature -18°Cleeks keep perfectly for 5 to 6 months.
Finally, the conservation en cave is possible, provided that they are placed upright, in a kind of small trench, against each other, then covered with a good layer of straw.