How to Grow Leeks at Home
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More and more people like to grow their own fruits and vegetables as a hobby, for self-satisfaction, and in order to control what they eat. However, growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard have some risks, do’s and dont’s, and there are some things you certainly need to avoid.
Things to consider when growing leeks:
- Leek temperature requirements are medium. They need temperatures from 13°C to 25°C (55.4°F – 77°F) and plenty of sunlight to thrive. In most leek-producing countries, the best period to start cultivation is during the second half of spring.
- The easiest way to start your leek crop is by planting seeds directly in the ground.
- You can also plant them in pots, provided they have at least 30cm (12in) depth so the plant can grow vertically.
- Make sure to buy certified seeds from a legitimate seller. Otherwise, the germination rates will probably be low, and you will lose time. You can use turf as a substrate for optimum aeration. If you plan to grow more than one plant, leave at least 15 cm (6 inches) space between each plant.
- Make sure to keep the seeds moist until germination.
- Alternatively, you can buy young leek seedlings from a legitimate seller and directly dig them into the soil at 15 cm (6 inches) depth, leaving only the green part outside.
- Hand weeding is necessary before placing the seedlings to the ground but also throughout the planting season (especially during the first two months) because weeds can easily outcompete our plants. Be careful not to damage the sensitive and shallow roots of the leek plants. Mulching can be an effective weed control method.
- As the leeks grow, you may have to add more soil to cover the exposed white part of the plant. The longer, whiter, and more tender the white shank, the better the quality of the leek!
- Leeks generally have low tolerance in drought. On the other hand, they do not like soggy soil. Thus, you may avoid excessive irrigation. On average, leeks need irrigation three times a week. This, of course, is not a rule. Sandy soils may need more water as they cannot hold enough water close to the roots. On the other hand, heavy clay soils, where there is probably no proper drainage, may need less irrigation.
- Leek generally has medium demand for fertilization. When it comes to backyard cultivation, many growers prefer to apply well-rotted manure or compost as fertilization methods during the growing period to increase nitrogen and potassium in the soil. Alternatively, one application before planting and one side-dressing in early summer have been proven sufficient.
- Leeks mature and can be harvested 3-4 months after transplanting or 6 months after seed sowing by the time their stem is 3cm (1.18in) thick. Harvesting time depends on the produced method, the climate conditions, and the variety of the leeks.
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