Sunday, May 15, 2016

Planting Leeks

After planting my storage onions from Dixondale Farms, the next goal was to get the leeks, shallots and Purplette onions I started from seed into the garden beds. The fact I am planting my own leeks is a bit amazing. I decided to try starting my own this year instead of buying no-name plants purchased from a garden center. I chose Takrima, an F1 hybrid from Johnnys. I reported earlier that Takrima was a total failure, with just one seed emerging and then damping off. I continued to water my expensive failure and fully a month after planting the seeds, they started to emerge. In fact, they came up rapidly and caught up with the other onions. Happily I wound up with the nice pot of seedlings below.

The raised bed was prepared for the leeks by using a dibble and preparing large, deep holes in the bed, 5/square.

The pot of leeks was dumped out and individual plants were separated, carefully teasing apart the entwined roots.

A leek plant was then inserted into each hole. The trick was to get the plant and its roots into the bottom of the hole. Trying to use fingers or a stick to accomplish this tended to break the roots. I finally took the plant by its stem and pushed it down into the hole. The plant stems were stiff enough to accomplish this. The result was a plant with its roots at the bottom of a large hole. The soil will eventually fill in after several waterings and the result will be a leek with a long blanched white stem without trenching or hilling. I also planted a closely space row of these between the squares to pull as baby leeks.

Shallots were next but I did not bother to photograph them. This year I tried Conservor since Ambition is showing very poor storage life. Germination was fine but their longevity in pot was disappointing. It looked like they were going dormant. I do not have high hopes of these. I really miss the Saffron shallots which were ideal for my conditions and stored forever.

Next was the Purplette onions from Johnnys, a small-bulbed onion with a lavender blush used for fresh onions. These were robust germinators and growers and I had a beautiful pot of them to transplant.

I allocated two squares to these, planted 16/square. I plan to pull every other one first, allowing the remaining onions to get a bit larger. That space allotment only used half the onions. The rest will be tucked into corners here and there in the garden and pulled as fresh onions.

All of the alliums are now planted, a bit late but it is done. Next goal is to get the brassicas into the ground, cabbages/kohlrabi first, then the kale and broccoli.

1 comment:

  1. That's crazy that the leeks took so long to germinate. Good for you for persevering. The leeks and onions look nice and healthy, I imagine they will take off and grow really quickly.


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