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This important winter vegetable is grown for its long, thick, white stems or 'shanks'. Early varieties mature from August to early winter, when the hardier dark-leafed maincrops take over until April or May. Plants may be sown direct and thinned, but most gardeners prefer to raise seedlings under glass or in a nursery bed, and then transplant them by dropping each one in a 10cm to 15cm (4in to 6in) deep dibber hole to increase the length of blanch. Mini-leeks are popular, sown direct and thinned to 2.5cm (1in) apart for use when the size of spring onions.
Sun exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained/light, Boggy
Skill level: Experienced
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