How I grow them:
Leeks take a while. These caged leeks (this is to stop damage at the hands of both birds and toddlers alike) are from seed that I sowed into a punnet in January.
The variety is called ‘Jumbo’. It has taken until now to get them to this glorious height (approximately 10 cm). I planted these out about 3 weeks ago, 10 cm apart in furrows which I will later fill in as the leeks grow. This filling in is to try and maximise the white part of the leek. Previously I haven’t bothered with the furrows, or hilling anything up around the leeks and my results have been fine, but a friend swears the leeks are better if you protect the bottom of the plant. We shall see.
I have planted the leeks fairly closely as I like to eat leeks at both the baby stage and fully grown. Once they reach the baby stage – about a cm in diameter – I will pull every second one and roast them whole. The remainder I will leave in until they are about double that size (or more).
I tend to sow spring onion seed between the leek rows, as they develop much more quickly so makes good use of the space whilst the leeks are maturing.
To achieve a fairly constant supply of leeks I would recommend sowing a punnet of seed on a bimonthly basis during the sowing season, for leeks in Melbourne this is from about August through to April dependent on the variety. You may not always plant out all the leeks you sow but the length of time it takes to get seedlings makes it worth the potential waste to ensure you have some on hand when you need them. Leeks like fertiliser and I tend to give them a liquid feed on a fortnightly basis.
How I use them:
For a recipe for Pumpkin Gnocchi with a Creamy Leek sauce please see my post entitled: Pumpkin, Pumpkin Everywhere. http://suburbantomato.com/2011/04/pumpkin-pumpkin-everywhere/