Good enough to eat

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

●● LEEKS LEEKS are among the health­i­est of veg­eta­bles, be­ing full of iron, and they are hugely ver­sa­tile, whether be­ing made into thick warm­ing soups or added to chicken and ham pies, or added to the mash top­ping of shep­herd’s pie.

They are also pretty easy to grow and can be dug up as and when you need them as they’ll stay in the ground quite hap­pily un­til they are re­quired.

Start them off in pots in the spring as they are easy to trans­plant, or al­ter­na­tively grow them in a seedbed and use the thin­nings as an al­ter­na­tive to spring onions. Sow seeds around 1-2cm deep and 15cm apart. They will ger­mi­nate at fairly low tem­per­a­tures and if you are sow­ing them in pots, keep them some­where cool but frost-free.

Plants raised in­doors can be moved out­side and hard­ened off when tem­per­a­tures start to rise in May, and they should be in their fi­nal po­si­tion by June. Make a trench about 10cm wide and deep, as this will make earth­ing up the blanch, the base of the plant, eas­ier later.

If you’ve sown them in a seedbed, you can ease them out of the soil in July, spac­ing them out to a plant ev­ery 15cm and trim­ming very long leaves.

Har­vest them from Oc­to­ber through to spring. Good late va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Apollo’ and ‘Bandit’.

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