LEEKS

HIGH-ALTITUDE-LEEKS
KING SIEG ORGANIC LEEKS

LEEKS like the cool weather of high elevation summers and can do nicely here. Since they do not require time to bulb out, they can be started from seed in the ground or started in soil blocks. Those started in the ground may not be quite as large by the end of summer, but they are certainly edible.

The leeks above were started in soil blocks a bit later than usual (5/8) and transplanted outdoors 6/5. They were harvested 10/23, after snow and several below-freezing nights. Days-to-harvest: 140, but could have been much sooner if I’d wanted them. These leeks were a bit of an afterthought: normally my leeks are started in soil blocks the end of March or early April, for a harvest of larger leeks that are ready to eat earlier in the season.

To transplant leeks, I dig a trench in the ground about 4-5″ deep and plant the leeks in their soil blocks into the trench. As they begin to grow and fill out, I add soil & mulch to the trench to fill it up, and mulch all around. When the leeks are ready to harvest, they are nicely blanched up the bottom, several inches.

After reading about overwintering leeks, I attempted to overwinter leeks by planting them in late June of 2019 to be harvested in spring or early summer 2020. The information I’d read suggested that leeks should be pencil-sized before the fall freeze, by starting them August 1st, or earlier depending on location. Presumably, after mulching will prior to winter, leeks should grow in the spring for early harvest. This did not work for me. They  were not pencil-sized before fall freeze and did not survive the winter.

I have also sown leeks seeds in the ground in the fall. Some of these did sprout and grow the following spring, but many did not. Those that grew matured nicely. If I do this in the future, I will also start some in blocks in March-April to fill in the empty spots rather than depend on the fall-sown seeds to be my entire crop.

2020: The mice and pack rats had their hey-day with the leeks. First, the mice, when the leeks were still quite small. Some leeks did not survive. Later (August) the pack rats chomped off a few of the leek tops. Since there was already some good growth under the soil’s surface, they did survive and grow new greens, but I’m sure their growth was stunted due to the damage.

STORAGE
I store leeks in the refrigerator or our cold closet for a couple of months. I have also frozen leeks by cutting them up and freezing them in bags. I have also dried leeks in the dehydrator–they were usable in soups.

LEEK VARIETIES GROWN
King Sieg OP | 84 Days
Bleu de Solaise | 110 Days
King Richard | 70 Days
Tadorna | 100 Days
Varna | 130 Days