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Leeks belong to the Alliaceae family along with onions, garlic, and shallots. They have a mild, sweet onion-like flavour and a crunchy texture, and are often used in soups, stews, and other savory dishes. Leeks are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and dietary fibre.
Where to grow Leeks
Leeks can be grown from seed or seedlings and can be planted all year round in Perth. Leeks prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Choose a sunny spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day.
Before planting, enrich the soil with Baileys Soil Improver Plus which contains compost and manure that will encourage strong and healthy growth. If you have very sandy soils, use Baileys Clay & Compost.
How to plant Leeks
Sow the seeds 1 cm deep in rows spaced about 15 cm apart. Plant the seeds thinly and cover them with soil. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Once the seedlings are a few centimetres tall, thin them to a spacing of about 10-15 cm between plants.
To plant leek seedlings dig a hole that is about 15cm deep and 15cm wide. Place the seedling in the hole and fill with soil, pressing down firmly around the plant. Space the plants about 15-20cm apart.
How to care for Leeks
Water the leeks deeply immediately after planting, then keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Be careful not to overwater, as leeks are susceptible to rot in waterlogged soil.
Use an organic-based fertiliser such as Baileys Soil Matters Garden about four weeks after planting seedlings, and again six weeks later. Do not over-fertilise, as this can result in thick stems and small bulbs.
As the leeks grow, mound up soil around the stems to protect them from the sun. This will make the stems more tender and sweeter.
Leeks are usually ready to harvest in about 100-120 days. When the stems are about 2-3cm in diameter, loosen the soil around the plants and gently lift them out of the ground. Rinse off any dirt and trim off the roots and the tough green leaves at the top.