How to Plant Leeks

I was looking back through the archives and I don’t think I’ve ever done anything on how I plant Leeks. So, since I planted some this week I think now’s the time.

Firstly, I sowed some Leek seeds in modules in early Spring. They were in the coldframe but for the last month or so they’ve been in the sunny corner of the garden, just waiting until they are big enough to plant out.

I make a hole with my dibber, hold one of the Leeks and snip off about a third of the root system.

I do the same with the tops. I’m not sure whether this system is in vogue or not but I’ve done it for the past five years after one of the old guys at the allotment told me I should. I think it is to encourage more growth and to not over tax the small plant. But anyway it works for me.

Then I place the small Leek into its hole, and fill the hole with water. To my knowledge, no other vegetable is planted in this way. I like the fact that Leeks have their own special system. And I find it much more interesting than just bunging it in the ground. Makes me feel like a ‘real’ gardener!

21 Responses to “How to Plant Leeks”

  1. Dave Fisheron 22 Jun 2010 at 9:42 am

    I’m gonna attempt this at the weekend. How far apart do you space the leeks?

  2. Tracy Gunnon 22 Jun 2010 at 9:54 am

    All my leeks were dug up this morning by one of the local cats :-(
    I’m not a happy bunny. Think I managed to salvage them but they’re not looking good.

  3. Louisa @ RecycleThison 22 Jun 2010 at 10:29 am

    Ooh that’s a very interesting method – not heard of that before. I might try it with half of mine to get a side by side comparison.

  4. Johnnie Walkeron 22 Jun 2010 at 10:33 am

    My Dad taught me to dib a big hole, wider than the leek will be and about 2″ deep. Plant the leek as above into a smaller-dibbed hole at the bottom. When it rains soil is washed into the bigger hole. The end result is an extra 2″ of blanched leek when you dig it up, for very little extra effort.

  5. Anjaon 22 Jun 2010 at 10:41 am

    hm, I thought it was too late to plant leeks now? I bought a pot full of leek plants a while ago and I thought I’d have to compost them – but maybe there’s hope after all?

  6. Susanon 22 Jun 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I put mine out a few weeks ago; I puddled them in – I used to love doing that for my dad, but had forgotten that he used to trim the tops. I will have to remember that for next year.

  7. Sarahon 22 Jun 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve just found your blog while looking for info on white currants (just discovered some at the bottom of my garden)….Fab! How it escaped my attention before I’ll never know!! I have a small veg plot which is new to me and basically all trial and error at the moment, I’ll definitely be popping back here for more advice!! I’m not growing leeks though….maybe next year…….

  8. woody wilburyon 22 Jun 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Aaaagh…. cruelty to leeks.

    They grow perfectly well without trimming their roots and/or tops. I never trim mine & regard it as like docking puppies tails.

    The whole thing is counter-intuitive. I can see that it might stimulate a better root system but it just seems odd to cut off part of the root system of something I want to do well.

  9. Karenon 23 Jun 2010 at 2:46 am

    Hi, I’ve never commented on your blog before. I live in New York State. I love leeks and found your method of transplanting quite interesting. I sow my seeds in seed trays with individual cells in February and transplanted them in march, they are fine with colder weather and last year I had forgotten to harvest a few… they were fine with the winter weather (it gets cold here) and continued to grow the next spring. It was amazing. Leeks rock.

  10. Cazon 23 Jun 2010 at 8:31 am

    Ouch! I dont like the thought of snipping off those lovely roots.
    I grow the leeks until they are the size of a pencil then make very deep holes with a dibber to puddle in so that their snipped green tops are just peeking out about 3cm. Usually wait until they are pencil size in a seed bed so that the transplanting coincides with when I harvest my new potatoes so they can go into that bed afterwards. I love leeks!!

  11. Dianeon 23 Jun 2010 at 9:45 am

    Everyone on my allotment site last year said that trimming them was a waste of time. Just stick them in!

  12. Rachelon 23 Jun 2010 at 9:58 am

    Wow, I didn’t know this, thanks for the tips and the very useful clear photos. How far apart are they supposed to be planted out to?

    I have mine growing in a pot from seed and I’m planning on just filling up a bit extra to blanch them, a bit like mounding up potatoes.

  13. Saraon 23 Jun 2010 at 10:15 am

    I found your blog while googling for info on apple espaliers a few months ago, and think it’s beautiful as well as informative. We are pretty new to vegetable and fruit gardening, and like Sarah above will be checking back regularly for more tips!
    We were planting out our second crop of leeks yesterday, and having read your post I cut back the roots and tips of half of these to see whether it makes any difference. Think I may have been a little over-zealous though, as some are almost lost in their holes now and may not be seen again!

  14. Domestic Executiveon 24 Jun 2010 at 9:37 am

    I’ve not heard of trimming leeks before – I might try this next year. Right now my leeks are battling the southern hemisphere frosts!

  15. YoungDumbandFullofComfreyon 24 Jun 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I have to say I have never snipped roots or tops, I agree it feels a bit wrong.

    Could we have a follow up post at harvest time with the results of those who have trialled both side by side?

    Then perhaps the mystery will be solved – to snip or not to snip ? (or as you put it to bung or not to bung!)

  16. therealmrswilsonon 25 Jun 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I always use this system too! I also learn’t this from one of the ‘old chaps’ at the allotment, Cyril, and have always carried out the same ritual when planting leeks, the results have so far been successful!

  17. Trevoron 26 Jun 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Mmmm….what colour nail polish is that?

  18. Stephie @ Narrative Selfon 27 Jun 2010 at 8:29 am

    I do mine exactly the same way and have a wonderful crop of leeks! I was taught to do it by Dr in organic farming, so that’s good enough for me :)

  19. rhetoricianon 29 Jun 2010 at 9:42 pm

    aargh! leeks! lovingly sowed from seed, planted out painstakingly on the allotment, only to be systematically pulled up by birds. Too late to start again this year I think – will have to net them next year

  20. Flower Photo Galleryon 06 Jul 2010 at 3:40 pm

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  21. Angieon 26 Jul 2010 at 3:18 pm

    LOVE the nail varnish – a girl after my own heart!!