Leek growers?

rustico_2009May 7, 2012

What are your practices with leeks? Anyone have a great schedule for year round harvesting? This is foothills zone 9 above the marine layer.

After growing leeks for the first time we are now harvesting. They are very good!

These are grown from bare root transplants I started in a pot and from some bought from Dixondale farms. Both are about equal, mine being musselburg and theirs, lancelot. There were put in the dirt in January.

I am wondering how soon I can start some for fall harvest or is it too late? Should they be direct seeds. Any variety recommendations.

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Did you know you can cut off the rooty bit at the bottom of the leek and replant it and it will grow and give you a new plant? Coolest thing ever. Try it!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Interesting and amazing!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 12:51PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Rustico - I am in a similar zone. Sunland/Tujunga foothills, so interested to hear what works for your leeks.

Hoovb - I have been experimenting with this trick using green onions. Now trying out some other alliums to see what works. Biggest problem I've had is sometimes the slugs get to the alliums before they start to grow. Once they grow an inch or two, the slugs don't seem to bother them.

How much of the leek stem do you plant?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 2:10AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Not much, half inch, three quarters of an inch is plenty. Sluggo for the slugs!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:34PM
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WoodcrestD(9b, sunset 19 Riverside)

I usually have a small row that i grow from seed planted about now. Let them grow bunched up, they will grow slowly and then when about spring onion/scallion size at the end of summer transplant to their final position. I use a dibber, an old broken fork handle thats been sharpened to a point and make holes about 6-8 inches deep and then drop a transplant into the hole and water. Don't bother to fill up as the hole will fill up over time. Usually i plant them very deep so that only the top leaves are showing to get a good length of blanched stem. This way leek plants are always available whenever i clear a patch of ground from its summer crops, makes it very convenient.
King Richard is a good variety thats designed to grow thru summer and not have to stand up to a harsh winter. Have grown Musselburgh before but King Richard has longer stems.
Great crop and for some reason very expensive and often coarse in the shops so definitely worth growing, good value for space crop. works for me in Riverside, Inland empire, SoCal

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Well since I first posted it looks like my leeks are getting a little tired before getting big. Most all are at least 3/4" inch diameter. I am getting some nice ones, especially the Lancelot but some of the Musselburg are even putting out seed heads...bummer.

Thanks for the tip on King Richard. That sounds like a good suggestion and I will buy some seeds soon.

Woodcrest, What is your onion growing regimen if you have one?

I am asking around with other local growers and I will definitely post if anyone comes up with more good tips.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:44PM
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WoodcrestD(9b, sunset 19 Riverside)

I'm not really much of an experienced onion grower. Its one crop that I'm not sure its totally worth growing in the home garden as its a storage crop and very cheap in the shops (commonly 7lbs for 99c) and also not a crop that generally has many pesticide residues on it but I may be wrong about that. Also not sure if there is a major taset improvement on a home grown stored onion over a bought one and i get through a lot so difficult to grow my full supply on the cultivated area i have. Having said that I do have a small area of red and yellow onions about half a 8x4 raised bed with onions that are about small fist size at the moment. I think they seem to do well here in this climate.
I took my cues from Pat Welsh's Southern Calif book where she states that you have to sow between Nov 1-14th. I then transplanted to their final positions and distance (6inches) in January. They seem to be doing well. I'm still not totally sure of the space to value but i may well just go with some red onions for burgers in the future. The three varieties i have are Red desert sunrise. Violet de galmi and Yellow pumba, all short day varieties which is appropriate for my latitude.
I'm a bigger fan of leeks which are expensive and of poor quality here and also shallots which again seem a better bet value and taste wise.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 12:27PM
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pennypond USDA 10 Sunset 21 CA

Thank you for the question and responses, they reminded me how good homegrown leeks are. My timing was off last year, but as recommended by WoodcrestD, I'll start some seeds this week.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:27PM
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ned1(z9/ss15 NorCal)

I've grown leeks on and off, and usually start them either very late fall or very early spring. I wonder if the length of day affects them like other aliums? I've never grown them for Fall harvest, but that seems like a good idea, maybe will try this year.

Woodcrest, I thought just like you for years. Then one year ( 15 or 20 years ago! ) a friend gave me a few red onions and I stuck them in the ground... come July and a BBQ and sliced them up for some burgers and now I always have onions in my garden. There really is a big difference in taste! I usually grow some white and some red. This year we have white red and yellow. Not too many, and they certainly aren't the most attractive plants in your vegetable garden. Also absolutely superb for homemade salsa with those fresh tomatoes and peppers ( and remember to plant to cilantro in August, in a partly shady spot, so it will be ready in time! )

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Anyone else getting going with leeks?

I started the King Richard leek seeds today and also some Lancelot leek seeds. They are on a table under 40% shade cloth, but other wise full direct sun. Hoping for better results this year I will make my soil fluffier with compost and fertilize at transplant and every month or so after.

Still going to buy leek and onions starts from Dixondale for January, but will be starting lots of both before that. I want to double and triple up my chances of success. Waiting until Nov. to start onions from seed Candy's and 1015's for sweets and desert sunrise, which was mentioned in this thread, for red storage.

This year I harvested 1015's that were huge, and some red creole that were really good eating, but most bolted.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:01PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

I've utterly failed with leeks, twice now. They get as big as a pencil, and then bolt. What might I be doing wrong? I'm in Oakland, and I have very dense silty soil.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Thought I would post back the results on the August planted from seeds leeks.I planted King Richard as suggested on this thread. The results are good. I planted them in large yoghurt tubs and put them in the garden with a composted bed and the dibbler method when they were about 6" tall. The biggest is near 2" in diameter but average is around an inch. I didn't feed them so that could have made them bigger perhaps.

I haven't done the succession planting I talked about so that's a bummer not to know how that works but I do see a coastal grower who has them at the farmers markets year round. Good stuff.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 3:14PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

My 'recycled' green onions, grown from the bottoms of storebought green onions are doing well - my last post in this thread was april. I just cut some of the tops whenever I need them.

Now I'm playing with the leeks. Eat the storebought leek, but save the bottom of the leek, between 0.5-1 inch, rootlets attached. leave em in a cup of water for a couple days till they start growing again. Then plant out. Amazing how quick they start to regenerate from almost nothing!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 12:29AM
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That's just crazy with the leeks! How cool! Do you just throw the things in water, or are they propped up some way. Fully submerged or partially?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 12:56AM
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