The Napier Mail - - OUT & ABOUT -

Leeks used to be a big source of frus­tra­tion for me. Ev­ery year I’d sow the seeds, painstak­ingly trans­plant all those blade-of-grassthick seedlings, thin du­ti­fully and wait pa­tiently... but for what? If I was lucky, I’d end up with clumps of what looked like chubby spring onions, but they never grew stalks thicker than an inch. So a few years ago I gave up sow­ing and started trans­plant­ing leek seedlings in­stead – and just look at the re­sults.

I buy bulk bun­dles of seedlings by mail or­der from Awa­puni Nurs­eries. You get at least 50 plants for $7.99, which isn’t as cheap as a packet of seed but I know that ul­ti­mately I’m go­ing to har­vest 50 big fat leeks for 16c each, com­pared to at least $2 each in the su­per­mar­ket.

From seed to har­vest, leeks take at least six months – and up to a year – to pro­duce stalks with a gen­er­ous girth. They’re slow starters but they hold well in winter soil and you don’t have to worry about them bolt­ing to seed un­til the in­creas­ing day length trig­gers flow­er­ing around

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