The leek, with the scientific name Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum , is a crop of the liliaceae family very popular in orchards in many countries. It is a plant that has its origin in Western Asia and Europe and is consumed mainly for its bulb, although its leaves and flowers are also edible.
If you want to learn how to plant leeks at home or how to grow leeks in a pot or garden, join us in this article where you will find a complete and practical guide with the necessary steps and tips to plant leeks.
When to plant leeks
The cultivation of the leek can be done in two seasons throughout the year, which are between late winter and early spring (around February in the Northern Hemisphere) and in autumn . There is no better time to plant leeks between these two in general, and the preference for one or the other will depend on the specific circumstances of your local climate.
We can plant them directly at these times both outdoors and in pots, or go ahead about a month and plant them in a seedbed and then transplant them to their final location, since despite being a root crop, unlike most of these it tolerates well the transplant.
How to plant potted leeks
As usual, we recommend planting first in the seedbed whenever possible, since this allows us to have much more controlled seedlings in our cultivation, pay more attention to them and at the same time free up the space in our garden and not exhaust so much their land. To plant potted leeks from seed, follow these steps:
- Prepare the seedbed substrate for the leeks. We recommend using the universal mixture for seedlings, with a part of worm humus , a part of peat and a part of coconut fiber , to which we will add vermiculite and perlite. This gives a light substrate, with excellent drainage and very nutritious.
- For each seed you can use a small container of yogurt, a plastic cup or any other similar container.
- Bury the seeds about 5 cm deep and then water abundantly, but always without flooding. If you have a large seedbed for several seeds, try to respect about 10 cm between each one.
- This is one of the best options for growing leeks at home, and will allow you to transplant the seedlings to their final pot in 2 to 4 weeks after sowing them. However, the usual thing with this vegetable is to buy the plants directly and skip all this step.
- Choose a pot about 20 cm deep, prepare a very loose substrate that drains very well, and plant the already grown leeks about 10 cm deep. If you plant several in the same pot, respect about 15 or 20 cm between them.
- Make sure to maintain a good humidity level in the crop and add organic matter in the form of humus or compost to the substrate of the final plant.
- When the stems measure around 20 cm it will be time to harvest them.
How to plant leeks in the garden
Planting in the garden follows the same general strategy outlined, only when you transplant, you will be transplanting to the garden and not to a pot. Follow these tips for planting leeks in the garden :
- It is important to choose a good location depending on the weather: if it is very warm you will put them in semi-shade and, if it is not very warm, better put them in direct sun.
- Then it is very necessary to loosen and till the soil in depth to loosen it as much as possible, since the soil for the leeks cannot be compacted.
- Sowing can be done vertically, which is the most common, or diagonally on the terraces, which also has its benefits as an easier harvest. In any case, the distance to plant leeks is about 15 cm between plants of the same line, and about 20-25 cm between lines.
- The soil must have been enriched with compost or humus, and needs constant watering.
- It is also common to plant leeks in black plastic, which is a technique to make the stem of the same white, more tender and softer in flavor. This consists of covering the first few inches of the leeks’ stem with an opaque plastic or other material a few weeks before harvest.
In this crop, the most important thing is the soil and irrigation. In summary, these are the care of leeks :
- The soil must be, as we have already said, very loose, with very good drainage and rich in organic matter. For this it is necessary to loosen it conscientiously and enrich it with worm humus or compost.
- Regarding the watering of leeks , this plant needs a certain level of humidity constantly, so we must water it very frequently, but in small quantities, since if we flood the crop, it is most likely that our leeks will rot.
- The location should also be taken into account, as this plant requires plenty of sun in temperate or cold climates, and semi-shade in hot climates. This point is especially important if we plant in spring, with the warm months ahead.
- It is also advisable to clean the soil of weeds, which could rob our plants of nutrients.