Leeks are one of our favourite winter vegetables. Plant them in early summer as young plants into the garden and they’ll be ready to harvest from mid to late autumn right the way through until spring – sometimes we’re still lifting leeks at the end of March to early April! They’re nutritious and they’re really tasty, so they’re a good one for growing your own.
In their latest video, our friend Martin Fish of Pots & Trowels takes you through the process of planting leeks out into the garden. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the advice you need for how to get a lovely blanched shaft when planting out your leek seedlings!
How to Plant Out Leeks
If you sowed your leeks indoors earlier this year, then by now you should have some nice, strong seedlings with good root systems that are ready for planting out into the garden. An advantage of sowing your leeks indoors first is that you can also have things growing in the garden beforehand, as you haven’t taken up that room by sowing them directly.
To start, choose a cooler day in June to plant out your leeks. If you plant them out on a scorching hot day then they might wilt and they won’t settle in as fast.
Sprinkle a bit of general fertiliser over the planting site. You can also incorporate some organic matter, so if you’ve got some garden compost then feel free to add that too, as leeks are quite greedy feeders and they need a rich soil that’ll retain moisture through the summer. Give the soil a final rake over to make sure that it’s nice and level, and lightly fork it over too if necessary to help break it down and work the fertiliser and compost in there.
Use a planting board or a string line to help space out your plantings and keep them in a straight line. Lay out each plant on the soil initially, spacing each plant out about 6 inches. Don’t worry if any of your plants are a little broken up when you remove them from their pot or plug tray, they’ll be fine once you get them in the ground as they establish very quickly. Once you’ve laid them out, it’s time to work on getting them in the ground!
The idea with growing leeks is to get a nice long white shaft, so you want to plant them quite deep. You could do it with a hand trowel, but the traditional way is to put them in with a dibber. Push your dibber into the ground to at least 4 to 5 inches (or 10 to 12 1/2 centimetres) deep and give it a twist to create a hole for your young plant, then simply drop the plant in! If your soil is a little dry then give it a water first to help the planting hole retain its shape and stop it caving in before you’ve finished planting. Don’t be concerned if you’re burying quite a bit of the stem, as that’s what will turn white due to lack of light and will create that lovely blanched stem that we’re after.
The next job is to water your newly planted seedlings. If you’ve got some liquid feed then consider diluting that to half strength and adding to your watering can to help settle the roots and to give your plants an initial boost right away. Fill each hole up with water to wash the soil around the roots and to settle them in. The holes will eventually fill in with soil, so once you’ve watered each hole you can leave the plants to do their thing, and this means that the base of the stem will be nice and white when you lift them.
If you’re planting multiple rows of leeks, then space them around 30 centimetres (or 1 foot) apart to give each plant adequate space to get growing.
Where to Buy Darlac Tools
Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre, or you can buy selected products direct online from our website. Find your local Darlac stockist here.
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