Growing Leek Seeds
LEAK SEEDS are a member of the winter squash family, Brassicaceae. Also known as winter onions, they have been cultivated since early days in warmer climates. A member of the onion group, leek has a subtle sweet flavor that is ideal for soups, stews, vegetable dishes, and even side-dishes for chicken or beef. They grow easily in spring from underground bulbs that are about 2 inches long. The shoots reach a maximum height of only three to four inches.
As a vegetable, leek seeds can be stored for up to a year in an airtight container inside a refrigerator. For freezing, put them into a sealable plastic bag and freeze until solid, which takes about two weeks. After defrosting in the fall, pull the bag of leek seeds out of the refrigerator and place them into a salad spinner for use as quickly as possible. The faster you can start leek seeds indoors the better!
Leeks can be used in almost any way you want. As a substitute for onions, they make great additions to soups or stews; they can act as a great marinade ingredient for meats; and they can be used to add flavor and color to many other dishes, such as pasta sauce, bean dishes, soups, salads, and more. Just like an onion, they are a relatively slow-growing plant, which means they won't get overripe.
If you start your seeds indoors in the fall, before the first frosts appear, you'll have an easy time getting high crop yield from your seedlings in the spring and summer. This is because the frosts will keep most of them inside. In the springtime, however, it's important to move them outdoors if you want them to bear fruit. For this reason, you need to move your leeks outside after the initial frost.
Because they are so little, leek seeds don't typically do well if they are planted in full sunlight. Instead, they need to be planted in partial shade with approximately three to four inches of exposure. You should plan to put them in containers prior to the planting season so that you can determine how much sun they will receive. Keep in mind that if you are planning to grow these plants indoors, they may not need as much light as those you would plant outdoors.
When growing leek seeds, it's important to remember that their shallow roots make them very vulnerable to cold weather. The main threat they face is from freezing rain, which could destroy the entire flower head at once. Cover the soil beneath the seed with a plastic sheet to help ward off any cold weather and then dig the holes with your spade or fork. Place the pots in the holes and water them for a few days, ensuring that the water has penetrated the soil.
It's a good idea to pick through your garden for leek seeds before planting them. This will ensure that you are getting exactly what you want, rather than wasting time and money on something that you don't want. One great spot to look is in your vegetable patch. Just because they belong in the onion family doesn't mean that they all grow edible. Some do quite well as ornamental plants in the flower head family and others produce fruit that can be harvested for consumption.
If you are looking for a quick way to add a fresh, bright touch to your patio or front yard, consider planting leek seeds. They come in a variety of colors and are easily grown from indoors. The white stems make a beautiful border with various flowers, but they also grow wild in wooded areas, climbing walls, fences and hedges. The onion family has many interesting varieties, so you're sure to find one that will work for you!