Get the best chance for a good leek harvest
Leeks are hardy souls. They take a long time to fully reach maturity, but stoutly sail through winters, standing firm in the ground through to spring. Many people find that a spring sowing doesn’t quite cut it, and leeks sown then end up less robust, smaller and a bit of a damp squib. Sown indoors in January, leeks have a longer time to bulk up and become large enough to pick successfully. This is particularly important for any leeks you’ve decided to exhibit this year, so they’ll be ready on time. Thinly sow the black seed in trays, pots or modules of firmed down, level seed compost, cover over with a thin layer of more compost, watering in well. A good way to leave the seed undisturbed is to put the tray into water
So it can initially soak it up from the bottom. Put the tray in a warm spot – a heated propagator or a warm windowsill – and in a fortnight or so you’ll see some signs of germination. If using a heated propagator, switch it off when this happens so seedlings don’t grow tall, thin and leggy. Prick out seedlings into bigger pots when they’re large enough, and they’ll be fine in a cold frame or in the greenhouse. It’s best to sow successionally indoors and then sow a few lots of seed outdoors from spring, so that you don’t have a load of leeks all at once. By mid spring your pencil like seedlings should be good to plant out into the ground, ready to flourish in the open. Leeks like rich soil and consistent, regular watering through summer, so tend to them well.
Four varieties to get you started...