how do I know when to harvest my leeks?

fluteseeJuly 24, 2006

Hi there, I am a relatively new kitchen gardener, and this is my first time growing onions, leeks and shallots. I understand that the onions and shallots are pretty self explanatory, and I think I've got them covered, but I'm a little confused on the leeks. They don't seem quite big enough to harvest yet, but I'm not sure of what the harvesting indicators are. And what are scapes? I've read about them on other postings, but I really don't seem to grasp what they are. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlad(6b KY)

Chris, leeks can actually be harvested at any stage of growth. Indeed, I much prefer the "baby" leeks, myself, when they're only about index-finger thick. More of the green remains tender at that point.

Scapes usually are associated with garlic. Hardnosed varieties (and, sometimes softnecks if they've been stressed) send up a central stalk that would be a flower stalk. Except they don't flower or set seeds. Instead, a bulbous mass forms on the end, called a spathe. If left alone, the spathe will fill with bulbils---tiny, round, "cloves" that are clones of the parent).

As they grow, scapes curl. Depending on variety, they curl anything from 270 degrees to two complete turns. Then they straighten out again.

If you harvest the scapes, just before they curl, you accomplish two things: 1. You get marginally larger garlic heads; and 2. You get the great culinary treat of the scapes, themselves.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flutesee

Thanks so much for your help. I may now pick my leeks before I go on vacation and use them in whatever we choose to cook while we're away :-)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 10:44AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
If it looks like a leek, and smells like a leek...
I have what I feel like may be a stupid question. We...
MaryBeth Hostetler
why are my shallots soo small
I planted really nice sized shallots last fall. I would...
kmatcek
Grow Own Onion Sets?
Just wonder if it is a good idea to grow own onion...
redsun9
dislike the new format, how about you?
YUCK, do not care for the new format. Had a ton of...
kristincarol
Saving Onion Seed
Last spring I picked a few of the best onions I had...
steve333_gw
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™