How to grow leeks from seed

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Feb, Jun

Takes just:

30 minutes

Home-grown leeks are far superior to those bought in shops. They are very easy to grow from seed, and if you sow at intervals from February to June you can harvest from late August, through winter until the following February.

Like most other vegetables, you will get a heavier crop if you grow leeks in a well-lit position, with soil that has been improved by the addition of plenty of organic matter.

You will need

  • Leek seeds
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Pots or seed trays
  • Garden fork
  • String
  • Broom or large dibber
  • Watering can
  • Horticultural fleece and pegs

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Fill pots or seed trays with good quality, multi-purpose compost and firm gently. Scatter the seed thinly on the surface, cover with a few millimetres of compost, water and keep moist.

Pot on seedlings individually into small pots or do it the 'cheat's' way: remove the pot and pull the rootball apart, and place it in a larger part-filled pot and add compost between the seedlings.

Fork soil to remove all debris and large stones and break up any large clods. If necessary, incorporate some well-rotted manure or garden compost to improve soil texture and fertility.

Transplant the leeks into the ground when they're about 15-20cm tall. Use a broom handle to make holes 15-20cm deep and about 15cm apart. Leave about 30cm between rows.

Carefully lower one leek plant into each hole, twisting each between your fingers to get the roots in. Check the roots are in the bottom of the hole and water well so soil is washed in. Cover the crop with well-pegged-down horticultural fleece.

On a heavy soil, use a fork to lift leeks when harvesting. On light soils you may be able to pull direct. For best freshness and flavour, lift leeks from the veg plot when you need them.

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Cover the developing crop with well-pegged-down fleece from the moment you plant it. This avoids infestations of leek moth, whose caterpillars cause foliage dieback and low cropping

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