I love February because it signals the time to sow Leeks. Leeks are one of my favourite vegetables to grow. They don’t necessarily need a lot of space and they will stand over winter into Spring (pretty as a picture with tulips) so will provide a harvest when there is little else available. In our house leeks are pulled on Boxing Day to make a wonderful leek and turkey pie making leftovers an absolute delight.
Leeks require a long growing season so they need to be sown in February – early March. I start them off indoors as they require some warmth to germinate. Once they are around 2in high I transplant them into a a plant pot and growing them on until they are pencil thick before planting outside. Elefant, Autumn Giant and Autumn Mammoth as their names imply are large varieties and will need the full season to reach maturity and won’t start being harvested until October – March. I prefer the smaller varieties, however, which need less time to grow and require less work. I will harvest them when they are an inch or so thick, these tend to be packed with flavour and great for stir fries and adding to soups. My favourite is Pandora which has that lovely bluish grey tone to the leaves and also Atal which I have grown in a large planter.
It’s important to keep the surrounding area weed free as they don’t like competition. Mounting earth up around the stems as they grow will blanch them to make the flesh more tender and sweet.
I’ve been fortunate and not suffered with any rust on the ones I have grown though this can be an issue for this crop. The plants are still edible but it may affect the yield of the crop.
See How to Grow.