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Gardening can be a calming hobby that provides food, as well as some much-needed fresh air. Gardening for leeks may seem like an odd choice of vegetables to grow in your garden but they are actually wonderful additions to any meal and their benefits go far beyond simply adding flavor! In this blog post, you will learn all about gardening tips for leeks and how these amazing plants can help keep your kitchen stocked with fresh ingredients year-round.
Initially found in the Middle East and Mediterranean region, the Leeks are a member of the onion family. They are found in large numbers in Belgium, Indonesia, France, and Turkey. They look a lot like scallions but are much larger.
The mild flavor of the vegetable makes it a favorite addition to white meat entrees, soups and can also be presented as a simple side dish when gently sautéed. The best leeks are found in autumn and can be enjoyed till the end of spring. Here is my favorite potato leek soup recipe. With just 5 ingredients, it's done quickly and full of flavor.
Gardening Tips For Leeks That Actually Work!
The leafy tops on the leeks make them easy to tell apart from other vegetables. The bulb is not a perfect circle, but it is larger than the stem. Leeks are one of the more expensive types of onions that you will find, but they are cheaper in places where they grow more often. Some people feel that you should buy this vegetable because it tastes better when you prepare it.
The History of Leeks
It is believed that the leeks originated in the Mediterranean and the Asian region more than 3000 years ago. The Bible mentions that the leeks were a delicacy in Egypt then, and they appeared almost regularly in the Egyptian diet. The Romans brought the leeks to the UK, where they flourished almost everywhere due to the conducive cold weather.
They are found in large numbers in Belgium, Indonesia, France, and Turkey.
However, the leek was never famous in the US, although it enjoyed existence there for many centuries. Leeks are easy to grow, and it is a real surprise that the vegetable never got the attention it deserved in the US. However, they are now increasingly used in various dishes by restaurants and a few households. As the
As the farm-to-fork restaurant trend grows, leeks are becoming an increasingly popular ingredient. It is believed that the leek’s natural sweetness and mild flavor make it a very versatile member of the onion family for many dishes, from soup to risotto and even dessert.
Benefits of Leeks
Leeks have a lot of polyphenols. Polyphenols help protect your blood vessels from free radicals that are bad for your health. Leeks also contain folate acid, which is good for your heart. Leeks are in the allium family and they are high in antioxidants like other plants with this family (like garlic). Antioxidants can fight off free radicals, which are bad for you.
The vegetables also have beta carotene, Vitamin C, and E. These help make you feel younger too by delaying aging. Vegetables with green leaves always contain Ks so leeks do too!
This is a wonder vitamin that helps to prevent blood clotting and speed up the healing process of any minor cut.
Their high iron content helps to improve the absorption of dietary minerals in the body, helping people become more energetic and active afterwards.
Basic Leek Facts
Germination of leeks takes around 14 to 21 days, and leeks are slow growers. They do not require any extra heat to germinate. It is a hardy vegetable and can germinate in cool conditions.
Leeks grow from middle of autumn to the end of the spring season but it depends on the variety and time of the sowing of the seeds. The harder varieties of the vegetable are left in the ground until they are needed.
Leek seeds will germinate in a vast region of temperatures – from 45 degrees to 90 degrees F. The optimum daytime temperature for germination is around 70 degrees F and a few degrees lower at night.
This can be a bit tricky as to how many you get per plant, but we suggest planting 12-14 leeks plants for each family member.
Just like the onions, the raw leeks have a strong flavor. They are thinly sliced and used for garnishing in salads, soups, meats, and roasted vegetables. It can also be mixed into green salads or salad dressings.
Gardening Tips for Leeks: Soil
Leeks grow best in light, moist soil. You may want to add fertilizers after the last crop to make it good for leeks. Soil that has just been fertilized is too rich for leeks and they will get coarse leaves and not enough of them.
Put leek seeds in the ground ½ inch deep. The seeds will grow in 10-14 days at 70°F (21°C). Thin or transplant the leeks to 5 inches apart. They should be planted 12-16 inches apart from each other. Leeks can be sown or transplanted into trenches that are 5-6 inches deep and filled with soil as they grow to create a white stem.
To grow leeks, you must be careful. You need to keep the area around them free of weeds. And you can either grow from seeds or grow from seedlings. If you want a quicker harvest, use the seedlings and plant them in holes that are at least 9 inches apart. Only let a couple of inches show above ground level when planting seedlings. Once they're planted, water generously again
Gardening Tips for Leeks: Plant care
Leeks need little attention. However, one must water the plants regularly in dry weather, and the space between the leeks should be kept free from weeds. If you want long and white stems, then you can blanch the leeks three weeks before harvesting. To blanch the stems, hill soil up around the leeks. This prevents sunlight and results in more of the white, tender leek being produced.
How to Harvest Leeks
The best time to harvest leeks is late winter and early spring before the plant starts its flowering.
If they are not harvested, then they will flower in June or July and produce seed heads instead of leeks.
Most of the varieties of the leeks have a long growing season that can extend up to 150 days. Unlike the onions, the leeks do not give any signal that they are ready to be harvested. They are ready when the base has at least three inches of white section, and it also should feel firm. You can remove it from the soil by twisting or pulling.
To keep them fresh for a longer period of time, you should wash them thoroughly with cold water after harvesting and store them in a plastic bag that has been opened on one end so air can circulate around the vegetable again. It’s also important to trim away any damaged roots from your freshly harvested vegetables before storing them as these may rot quickly while stored at room temperature.
Leeks may be eaten raw for salads but they can also be used when cooking soups, risotto, or pasta dishes with cheese sauces because it will not discolor them like onions would have done on their own given leeks’ delicate nature!
Apart from adding them to salads and soups, you can enjoy leeks in a variety of ways. One can add it to mashed potatoes to add a bit of a different flavor, or you can try to make the famous French leek soup with potatoes in it and traditionally served cold. This dish was made famous by the chef of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.