Seed Swaps

Just To Out-Do Myself. . . Again... & Lessons Learnt

24 Sep 2011
Overcast 22°C / 72°F

I remember that when I read the proceedures for planting leeks, that is; to plant the young seedling so that only 1cm or so is left above the ground, I was sceptical. I looked down at these tiny things no bigger than the lead in a pencil and thought such treatment would kill them. For sure. Yes, apparently I am that up myself.

However I still planted half the recommended way, and half as I felt they should be. Which was with at least half of it still out of the hole. Then I found out they take 18-22 months to harvest and promptly forgot about them and my experiment.

The results of my experiment can be seen below. Now I think, if only! However, experience is the best teacher. She’s the only teacher I really trust. :)

The leaves on the longest leek, photo 1, were not as long as last weeks leek, photo 2, so it’s total length was less at 1.5m, however it is longer at the edible part, at 66cm long. :)

The lower leek in photo 1 is, yes, planted ‘my way’. I harvested it because it started to flower. Fail.

Photo 3+4 added 27th Sept= last of the leeks planted ‘correctly’ . Saved the best til last apparently!
Photo 4= today’s harvest along side the ones from the 25th. Leek and potato soup tonight!






Folia Helper


thats the thing about gardening,gaining experience.. it is the best teacher out agree totally..

Posted on 25 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Wow – I didn’t know that about leeks – thanks I’ll try that out with my next spring planting. I’m curious though about your comment re. growing time. Folia’s leek info. page lists them as 235 growing days, which is just under 8 months – I haven’t heard of them taking over a year and a half, though that probably helps produce your giant ones – but I’m not sure I have that much patience.

Posted on 25 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Overwintering of Leeks only works in zone 7 or above. We have a 30cm freeze depth here (zone 5a), where the ground water can freeze solid. At 15cm deep the ground is frozen solid for 3 months, so nothing except garlic overwinters very well without being covered with 40cm of straw and plastic. I even have to dig up perennial bulbs and tubers every fall.

Posted on 25 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

The definition of ‘mature’ though is when they are 1 inch in diameter or 40cm from bottom to leaf tip. I don’t know about your supermarket, but all leeks are way bigger than that here when eaten than when considered mature officially by that standard. They couldn’t sell such things as ‘leeks’- people would think they’re spring onions- lol. Any way that’s how long the poor guy at our Dept of Ag whom I wouldn’t let hang up the phone (after hunting him down like a fox) said they would take… They don’t take up much room and I wasn’t going to harvest them until I was happy about the size (unless mass bolting occurred), and I did not realise how long they are either so I just kept waiting and waiting!

Anyway blah blah :)

Thanks Sue! :) Thanks Teresa :)

Posted on 25 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

I wish I had your patience Mel, I’m always harvesting my vegies too early because I just can’t wait any longer!

Posted on 25 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

mm, I have never “hilled” or “trenched” leeks in the manner you say.

I plant them in just the way I plant spring onions – that is I make a furrow using a Dutch hoe, lay the leeks down about 50mm apart (not too fussy), then use the hoe to back-fill. In a very short time the leeks are upright, same as with springies, and away we go.

We would be about halfway through pulling the last batch I planted 6 months ago as tiny seedlings, March 26 according to my Folia entry, and they would average 30-50mm diameter by about 30cm on average. I don’t include the loose green tops but use quite a bit of the green as well – just as in your pic.

Posted on 28 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

wait wait wait prickles. Are you telling me you grew 50mm diameter leeks in six months??? Whatttttt?! Don’t burst my bubble too badly mate! :P

How much of the seedling stem gets buried your way? I just made a hole with my finger and put it in and put a little bit of dirt back in.

Posted on 28 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Mel, excellent evidence of your experiment. Really, you do have to try things because not everything you read is going to hold true in your garden and with the varieties you chose. And congratulations on getting info from the Dept of Ag bloke, well stalked!

Prickles, how deep are yours buried when you backfill?

Posted on 28 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

added photos of today’s harvest= biggest! Yay.

Posted on 28 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Thanks Lilly! :)

Posted on 28 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

@ massivemelons – nice job! I love Leeks. Since you have left them in for quite a while – leave a few in a bit longer & they will go to seed & you can harvest the seed & start all over. They say that leeks are easy to propogate from ‘pips’ (though I’ve never done it). I found one site that explains it a bit;

@ Prickles – I don’t hill mine either & have never had any problems – but i did try to blanche them with toilet paper rolls this year. Slip the roll over your leek & stuff any area at the top with soft paper. No sunlight = longer white bits on leeks+less dirt inside the leeks. The only problem was a couple of the rolls disintegrated in the rain, so I suppose short pieces of PVC would work too.

@ hotwired I left a few of mine in (zone 5b) over the winter. I cut them back in the fall. In the spring they were almost a soupy texture. Within 3 weeks of spring thaw they had hardened & I had some 1" leeks to eat, 3 weeks later the remaining ones went to seed!

I love Mussels in white wine, leeks & cilantro.. mmmm!

Posted on 29 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

I can’t believe the difference in size. Wow. I didn’t know you were meant to plant them so deep either and I also didn’t know it would take 1 year before I can enjoy my potatoe and leek soup!

Posted on 02 Oct 11 (over 4 years ago)

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