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North East leek failure horror

Leeks overrun with alkanet in August

It is with a great deal of shame that I show these pictures – a native North-Easterner who has failed to grow leeks.

I hold my hands up – I was concentrating on other areas (mainly fruit and the greenhouse) and forgot I’d planted them in the top raised bed – the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ bed.

I planted them up in late spring, along with a few red Welsh onions, parsley, and rocket covered the lot with netting over hoops and left it to its own devices.

The rocket end was fine, but once that was finished, the rest slipped from memory.

I opened it up with horror at the masses of alkanet (I wish I’d never seen that damnable plant) and foxgloves.

The leeks are floppy and useless, but I removed the net, thoroughly weeded, gave them a feed and covered the soil with granular cat deterrent. Fingers crossed for a swift recovery.

NOTE: they were always pathetic, more like spring onions. Please see the picture kindly supplied by Beamish Museum, which is how leeks should look.

potted-guide-logoPotted guide: leeks

  •  SOWING TIME: Indoors in pots/modules Jan-Feb; direct outdoors late March-April.
  •  HARVESTING TIME: From Autumn onwards – can stand all winter until spring if required.
  •  PLANTING DISTANCE: 9″ (23cm) between plants, 12″ (30cm) between rows; less if baby veg is required, more if growing exhibition varieties.
  • ASPECT AND SOIL: Full sun/partial shade, well-drained, rich soil.
  • HARDINESS: Very hardy.
  • DIFFICULTY: Easy for small household use; difficult for an exhibition.
  • RECOMMENDED VARIETIES: Musselburgh; Autumn Giant 2 (Porvite); Nipper (baby); Below Zero; Northern Lights (purple); Oarsman; Natan; Lancelot (dual purpose); Porbella.