Why leeks are essential to your vegetable garden
- Easy to grow and maintain
- Tolerates some shade, but prefers full sun exposure
- Great substitute for onions in recipes
- Rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants
Leeks: What to know and when to plant
A leafstalk vegetable that is hardy in zones 2 through 10, leeks deserve space in everyone’s garden. These cool-season annuals are close relatives of onions and garlic, but taste a little milder. Some varieties take around four months to mature, but leeks are definitely worth the wait. Leeks are an excellent addition to soups and stews, or they can stand on their own roasted in the oven. Carve out some space to grow leeks this season—you won’t regret it!
Southern gardeners in hardiness zones 7 and above can plant leek seeds in the fall for an early spring harvest. Plant a variety, like Eden Brothers' American Flag Leek Seeds, that will overwinter well. Direct sow leek seeds in a sunny location in fertile soil. If necessary, add compost or a balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen. Plant leek seeds six inches deep and six inches apart—this ensures that the white leafstalk, the edible part of the leek, will remain underground, resulting in white, or “blanched” leeks. Cover the seeds and water well.
Leeks as microgreens
Expect to see leek seedlings emerge in two to three weeks. Thin leek seedlings to two inches at first, and then again to four inches. Don’t throw out these tiny seedlings, but enjoy them as microgreens in a wrap or salad! Northern gardeners in zones 6 and below will want to wait until early spring to sow their leek seeds. Direct sow seeds as soon as the soil can be worked, or about four weeks before the last frost. Leeks prefer consistent moisture, so keep an eye on your seedlings and water as needed.
Starting and harvesting leeks
Alternatively, start leek seeds indoors ten to twelve weeks before the last frost. Transplant seedlings outside around the last frost—they should be at least six inches tall by this time. Be sure to harden leek seedlings off by introducing the trays to outdoor conditions in increments. Dig a trench six inches deep and place seedlings at intervals of six inches. Cover and water well.
Harvest leeks when the leaf stalk is eight to ten inches tall, or when the stalk is at least an inch in diameter. Use a digging fork or spade to gently remove the plant from the ground. Store in a container of sand in a cool, dark place for a shelf life of a month!
Whether you’ve never grown leeks before or you’re a seasoned leek connoisseur, Eden Brothers has a variety you’re sure to love. For more information about planting, growing, and harvesting leek seeds, see the Leek Seeds Planting Guide.