This easy step by step guide with pictures shows how to grow leeks from seed covering germination to plant care and harvest.
Leeks are planted in the spring then reach maturity in the fall or autumn however they can be harvested at any time. They can also be left in the ground during the winter months until they are needed saving on storage space inside the home.
Leeks are hardy plants which form a tall stem with layers of cylindrical leaves forming tightly along the length of the stem. Both the white base and green stem is used in cooking.
Leeks are part of the Allium family which also includes onions, garlic and chives. While leeks have an onion flavor, their taste is unique. They can be used to flavor soups and stews or in sauces for chicken and fish dishes. See this recipe for Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Log.
Growing Leeks from Seed
Leeks germinate easily from seed and can be either sown direct or raised in seed punnets before setting out into their final position. Most varieties will take 6 months to reach maturity.
This refers to the practice of mounding soil up around the leeks as they grow to create taller, larger plants with tightly formed stems.
Best Position in the Garden
They prefer moist free draining loose soil in a full sun to part shade position. Leeks can be grown in greenhouses in hot climates however a full sun position is preferable for areas with cool summers.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Leek Seeds – These Leek Seeds from David’s Garden Seeds have an 80% germination rate. (Paid link)
- Punnet and Saucer
- Seed Raising Mix – Make your own seed raising mix from potting mix with this free guide.
- Aged Manure or Compost
- Liquid Fertilizer – This Liquid Kelp Extract is completely organic and will also improve the soil. (Paid link)
How to grow leeks from seed in the home garden.
- Plant the Leek Seeds
Fill punnets with seed raising mix to ½ inch (12mm) from the top. Water well then sprinkle the leek seeds over the top. Cover with ¼ inch (5mm) of soil then moisten the top with a mist spray. Place in a saucer to catch any excess water then leave in a warm place such as a windowsill. Keep moist.
- Prepare the Soil
Once the seedlings reach 2 inches (5cm) tall they can be planted out into their final position in the garden. Prepare the soil by digging in aged manure or compost.
- Plant the Seedlings
Make trenches 18 inches (45cm) apart then plant the leek seedlings 5 inches (12.5cm) apart making sure the white tip and roots are under the ground. Mulch, water in well then keep moist.
After 2 weeks apply a half strength of liquid fertilizer. After a month apply a full-strength liquid fertilizer then again, every 2 weeks.
- Trench the Leeks
As the seedlings grow mound dirt up around the stems creating trenches between the plants. The soil will fall back into the trench over time so you will need to keep mounding the dirt around the leeks every few weeks until they reach maturity.
Harvest the leeks by inserting a trowel straight down beside the leek then carefully angle the trowel upwards until it feels loose. Pull the stalk straight up then shake off the excess dirt from the roots.
When leaving leeks in the ground over the winter it is a good idea to make sure the soil is kept moist but the application of liquid fertilizer can be reduced to once a month.
The leeks in these photos were planted in a shade house during drought conditions. It is important to keep leeks moist and apply a thick layer of mulch. They may not grow as large as in normal conditions but you can still have a successful crop.
This top rated set of 3 long handled weeding tools reduces the need to bend over and has many applications. (Paid link)
Would you like to get more out of your home and garden? This Homesteading guide covers everything from preserving to DIY projects.
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