TRANSPLANT LEEK SEEDLINGS
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