Vegetables: Grow Leeks

Grow Leeks

 

Grow Leeks

Now this is why I grow leeks! As you can see, our leek patch grew beautifully this year. Apparently all that rain and cold in the spring and early summer were just the kind of conditions they like.

I haven’t grown leeks in my garden for a couple of years but they are definitely worth the trouble. I start them indoors in very early spring. The sprouts tend to look like blades of grass and I always find myself marveling that something so tiny could end up as large as these leeks.

Until conditions are warm enough for them to be transplanted out in the garden, I keep the seedlings indoors and trim them back to about 2″ in height every 10 days or so. This forces the plants to develop a good root system.

Before I transplant them outdoors, I dig 2 trenches in the raised bed. I carefully plant the seedlings in the bottom of the trenches and then, as the plants develop during the growing season, I start filling in the trenches all around them — always being careful not to get any soil in between the leaves and the stalks as this can cause the plants to rot.

The reason you fill in the trenches is to “blanch” the leeks. This means keeping the stalks from getting any light so they will be white. The white portion of the stalks are what you cook with.

Leeks have a delightful, mild onion taste. On Sunday, I made vichysoisse, which is a cold leek and potato soup. If cold soup sounds disgusting, you have to at least try it. I first had some at a restaurant over in Poulsbo and really, really wanted to ask for a refill! It is very refreshing — just the sort of thing to eat during these dog days of summer. And if you still don’t want to try it, consider having leek and potato soup — the hot kind — this fall. Well worth the effort!

If you don’t have a recipe for vichysoisse, just drop me a note (inthegarden@live.com) and I’ll send you mine.