Medwyn Williams has been dealing with hot leeks!
The extreme heat back in early June caused my lovely leeks to split open
The weather certainly didn’t live up to expectations on Anglesey this summer. In fact, we didn’t really have a decent summer at all. Although, that’s not strictly true as we had a scorching week or so back in June. It was almost impossible to keep the temperatures down in the polytunnels then and this meant that some of my sowing dates went through the window and some of the vegetables for my display at the Malvern Autumn Show were a little bigger than I would’ve liked them to have been. I’m convinced this very hot week did no favours for my leeks, as they started to split deeply but I was fortunate enough to still be able to stage some on my display.
The ‘Pendle’ leek is certainly one of the best blanch leeks around but it does have a problem in that it throws up sideshoots from the root plate. The persistent heat we had in early June accelerated this growth upwards in between the leaves or flags, which causes problems with the leeks eventually going oval. The growth rate on one ‘Pendle’ leek was so bad that it quickly split open and you could see the secondary growth inside it. This goes to show just how much plants react to extreme variations in temperatures. The new blanch leek bred by Ivor Mace has now been called ‘Llanedwen’, after the location of my growing area. Ivor, of course, bred the Welsh seedling leek more than 30 years ago and crossed his original leek with the ‘Pendle’ to select ‘Llanedwen’. My leeks are grown in 30 litre buckets on the bench and I had 10 ‘Llanedwen’ from Ivor and they were all approaching 23cm (9in) in circumference during early August. This leek is exclusively available from Medwyns of Anglesey in the new catalogue, available from mid-October.
The new leek ‘Llanedwen’
One of the ‘Pendle’ leeks that split right open due to extreme heat