- Buying leek seeds (in the summer)
- Protection against the leaf miner fly
- Sow indoors on moist toilet paper, replant mini leeks later.
When you want to grow few early leeks, you can buy small leek plants in a garden shop, from March (early spring) on. Plant them in the garden soil. See also tip 36 .
When you want to grow many leeks, you can sow and grow leek yourself. Let the plants grow bigger until the stem is as thick as a pencil (or thicker). Then plant them separately in the garden soil.
Buying leek seeds (in the summer)
In winter, fresh leek seeds are not (always) for sale. Buy fresh leek seeds in the summer and store them in the closed package indoors between 10 and 20 C (50 and 68 F). Open the package right before sowing, seeds have a good germ power then.
Protection against the leaf miner fly
Leaf miner flies lay their eggs on the leaves of leeks. They do that in spring and in late summer/early fall.
- Leeks that are attacked in spring have curled and odd growing leaves. I don’t want that. You can grow leeks in a fly-tight greenhouse. My tunnel greenhouse has closed flat perspex plates at each end. More info in tip 4) at B3).
- Attack in late summer/autumn shows many brown pupae (“oblong grains”) in the leeks. I don’t want that either. In tip 4) at B3) you can read that shortening the leaves helps a little. Much better: grow leeks under fine mesh.
Sow leeks indoors on moist toilet paper, replant mini leeks later.
This procedure in short;
- Sow leek indoors on moist toilet paper. Let the leeks on moist toilet paper grow to about 5 centimeters (2 inch) high (I call them “mini leeks”).
- Replant the mini leeks in a “shove tray” in compost. Let the leeks grow bigger indoors. Put the block of compost with small leeks in the garden soil under a closed (tunnel) greenhouse….. or
- …. or replant the mini leeks in the garden soil under a “double” (tunnel) greenhouse.
Below step by step description with photos;
- Lay one folded sheet of toilet paper on the bottom of a 250 grams margarine box.
- (Or fold a small gray plastic plate in the folded sheet. Germinating process is better visible then. See also tip 2) nr 26 ).
- Use water to moisten the toilet paper.
- Lay leek seeds on the moist toilet paper.
(on the photo above, there are about 35 seeds on, that’s too much).
- Put a well fitting lid on the box. You may “click” as long as there is a narrow air opening.
- Leek germinates better in the dark. The lid on the box ensures the dark environment.
- Let germinate indoors and warm (20 to 25 C, 68 to 77 F).
- Now and then lift the lid, check the germination, and put the lid on again.
- When most seeds have a short root, don’t put the lid on anymore.
(This is an other box than 2 photos back, with less (24) leek seeds).
- Put a plastic transparent box (mushroom box) over the margarine box.
- Put the whole indoors before a window at about 15 to 25 C (59 to 77 F).
- Mind that the toilet paper is moist; add or spray water when needed.
- Let the leeks grow bigger.
- Big and small leek plants on moist toilet paper. The biggest ones are big enough to plant out.
Don’t lay too many leek seeds on moist toilet paper. Many seeds causes a “mess”. Sowing about 25 seeds goes well.
Instead of mushroom boxes you can put such a transparent box on the top edge of the margarine box. In tip 2) number 7 there are details about these boxes.
The biggest mini leeks are big enough to replant. There are 2 ways of replanting;
- Replant mini leeks in a “shove tray” filled with planting soil in January (early to mid winter). Let the leeks grow bigger indoors before a window. Put the whole block of planting soil with small leeks in the garden soil under a (tunnel) greenhouse.
- Replant mini leeks in the garden soil under a (tunnel) greenhouse in March (late winter).
Below a detailed description of these 3 procedures.
Replanting mini leeks in a shove tray (and replanting under a tunnel greenhouse later)
A “shove tray” combination. Info about making and use in tip 2) no 68.
- Sieve compost through the bottom holes of a flowerpot.
- Mix with fine grained manure and agricultural lime.
- Put this mixture in a shove tray combi.
- Make (11) round planting holes in the soil in the tray.
- Useful: use a mat with holes and a pencil.
- But you can also make the holes “by eye”.
- The pitch between 2 holes is about 3 centimeters (1.2 inch).
- Spray water on toilet paper, that eases the release of the mini leeks from the toilet paper.
- Pick a big mini leek between index and thumb and lift it from the paper.
- Use sharp scissors to shorten the (white) root of the mini leek. This eases replanting in a planting hole.
- Widen and deepen a planting hole (use the stem of a tea spoon).
- Put the mini leek in the planting hole.
- Shove planting soil around the mini leek in the planting hole.
Continue replanting until there are no more big mini leeks. Let the remaining small mini leeks grow bigger on the moist toilet paper.
- Tap the tray with mini leeks on a hard surface (lift the tray a few centimeters (about 1 inch) and drop it).
- This makes the planting soil more compact and makes the mini leeks standing more firm in the soil.
- Spray water on the planting soil and on the leeks.
- Put a plastic transparent box over the tray.
- Put the whole indoors at a light place at 15 to 25 C (59 to 77 F).
- Remove the transparent box when the first leeks (almost) touch the top of it.
- Let the leeks in the tray grow bigger indoors at a light place.
Remark (sand on top):
- You can use a tea spoon to scatter dry sand between the leeks on the soil. Do that when:
- the leeks grow “high”(the roots are visible),
- there are small weed plants between the leek plants,
- there are green algae deposits on the soil.
Remark (seeds don’t germinate):
- After a while, there are only some “slow” leek seeds on moist toilet paper. These seeds germinate very slow (or never).
- Advice: empty the tray and (when desired) put new seeds on new moist toilet paper.
Remark (against toppling or a crooked growth):
Big grown mini leeks can grow crooked in the tray.
- At a big (450 grams) margarine box, remove (cut) the bottom.
- Cut open one corner.
- One tray with leek plants next to an cut open bottomless margarine box.
- Put the box with leeks from above into the cut open bottomless box.
- Slide (lift) the cut open bottomless box along the sides of the tray with leek plans.
- Put the cut open bottomless box on the planting soil in the tray.
- Push the cut open bottomless box a little in the planting soil.
- Make sure you don’t pinch off leeks during this step.
Growing leeks (continued)
Put the blocks of planting soil with small leeks in the garden soil in (under) a (tunnel) greenhouse.
- Put a (tunnel) greenhouse over an area of loosened garden soil.
- The soil under the greenhouse can heat up (during a few days).
- Remove or open the greenhouse just before replanting.
- Make a planting bed; scoop (shovel) garden earth to a depth of a few centimeters (1 to 2 inch). Put this earth “somewhere else in the garden”.
- Scoop 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inch) more from the bottom of the planting bed.
- Put this earth in a bucket.
- Add fine-grained manure and agricultural lime to the earth in teh bucket and mix.
- Put the mixture from the bucket into the planting bed.
- Use a wooden board to spread (to distribute) the mixture in the planting bed.
- Pour water in the box with small leeks; the planting soil gets moist and sticky (doesn’t fall apart so easily).
- Press on top of the planting soil in the box (next to the leek plants).
- Lift the shove tray (with planting soil and leeks) from the combination.
- Put it on the garden soil.
(the next photos show other blocks of planting soil with bigger leek plants, replanted in an other planting bed)
- Put a putty-knife in the tray under the block of soil with leek plants.
- Carefully lift the block of planting soil out of the shove tray.
- Lay (put) the putty-knife with the block of soil at the desired place on the garden soil.
- Hold back the block of soil (using a shove tray, piece of wood or so) while pulling the putty-knife away from under the block of soil.
- The block of soil with small leek plants is on its right place.
- (Put all blocks of soil with small leek plants in the planting bed).
- Use the putty-knife to shove garden earth against the blocks.
- Scatter garden earth in the openings between the blocks.
- Put the (tunnel) greenhouse over the planting bed with leek plants.
- At each end of the tunnel greenhouse put a flat perspex plate.
- Put a bamboo stick, iron pen (or a slanting stepping stone) against each end plate to close the greenhouse fly-proof.
On the photo above, the front tunnel has closed flat end plates.
- Regularly water the leeks in the (tunnel) greenhouse.
- Let the leeks grow bigger in the greenhouse.
- Remove the (tunnel) greenhouse when leeks are big.
- Replant the leeks separately in the garden soil when they are pencil thick.
Early leeks in a transparent cylinder.
In March, (late winter, early spring), you can replant small leeks in a transparent cylinder in the garden soil. Put a small perspex plate on top of the cylinder. In this “vertical” greenhouse, leeks can grow big.
Sprinkle garden earth around the plants in the cylinder to get “white leek shafts”.
- Put a block of soil with leek plants (or purchased plant leeks) in manured garden soil.
Use a piece of transparent corrugated plate, about 60 centimeters (2 ft) long. Roll it in a cylinder shape. Put 2 pieces of nylon cord around the cylinder.
- Put the cylinder over these leek plants. Lay a perspex plate and a brick on.
- Let the leeks grow bigger in the cylinder. Regularly water the leeks.
- Each week, scatter a little garden earth in the cylinder around the leeks; to form white shafts at the leeks.
- Remove the perspex top plate when the leeks grow above the cylinder.
- Let the leek plants grow bigger in the cylinder.
- Remove the cylinder before harvesting.
- Take the harvested leeks apart.
- Rinse the leeks and cut into slices.
Remark: bigger cylinder
When using 2 pieces of transparent corrugated plate, you can make a bigger cylinder to grow more leeks in. See below.
Build the cylinder and cut or saw out a well fitting piece of perspex.
April 15 (early spring). Plant (8) leeks in the garden soil. Put the cylinder around, put a perspex plate on and a brick on top.
May 1 (mid spring). Bigger grown leeks. The perspex top plate will be removed in one week or so.
June 1 (late spring). Even bigger leeks. No top plate on.
June 19 (end of spring). Harvest; 8 good looking leeks with white shafts (after rinsing and shortening leaves).
Planting mini leeks under a double (tunnel) greenhouse
Plant mini leeks in the garden soil under a double greenhouse in January to March (mid to late winter). A double greenhouse is a normal transparent tunnel greenhouse over a small transparent tunnel or over a transparent cover.
Under a double greenhouse, it’s warm there and the leeks are growing well. Remove the small tunnel when the leeks grow against it. Let the leeks grow big in the “normal” tunnel greenhouse.
- Mini leeks on moist toilet paper, big enough to replant.
- Determine where to plant the mini leeks in your garden.
- (A few days before planting leeks, you can put a greenhouse on (over) the soil there to warm up the soil).
- (Remove or open the greenhouse).
- Loose the garden soil at the planting site,
- Mix the garden soil with manure and agricultural lime,
- Flatten the garden soil.
- Spray water on moist toilet paper for easier releasing of the leeks.
- Take a mini leek (between thumb and index) from the moist paper.
- Use scissors to shorten a long root of the mini leek. This eases replanting.
- This is how you can plant a mini leek in the garden soil (general info);
- Use a fork to shove garden earth aside to make a planting hole,
- Hold the mini leek at the right height and position in the planting hole,
- Meanwhile shove garden soil against the root of the mini leek.
In stead of a fork you can use the stem of a spoon or a fork, or a narrow putty knife.
You can plant the leeks in a group or in a (double) row.
In a group:
- Spray water on the soil and on the replanted mini leeks. After spraying, leek leaves can be stuck in the soil. Use a fork to lift or releases these leaves.
- You can put a transparent cover over the group of mini leeks.
- Put the (tunnel) greenhouse over this cover.
- In this way you have a double greenhouse construction.
In a (double) row:
- Make one or two shallow furrow(s) in the garden soil.
- At 2 furrows, distance between the 2 furrows is about 15 centimeters (6 inch).
- Plant mini leeks in the furrow(s) as described above.
- Plant the leeks in each furrow in one row or in a zigzag row (/\/\/\).
- Spray water on the soil and on the mini leeks in the furrow.
(On the photo above, the leeks are in the garden soil for 2 weeks already).
- Put a small tunnel over each row of mini leeks.
- Put a small flat perspex end plate at both ends of the small tunnel(s).
- One small end plate can close the ends of 2 small tunnels).
This photo shows 2 end plates after removal of the small and normal tunnel(s). There is 1 small end plate before 1 big end plate. And 1 small end plate at the end of 2 furrows with leeks.
Below info about making the small tunnels;
- Use a (new) transparent corrugated plate of the same dimensions as the normal tunnel greenhouse plate to be put on later.
- For example 183 centimeters (6 ft) long and 66 centimeters (2 ft, 2 inch) wide.
- Use a handsaw for wood and a “workmate” to saw the plate into 3 equally wide strips of 22 centimeters (8 2/3 inch) wide.
- Shorten each strip for about 5 centimeters (2 inch). So they can fit well under the normal tunnel greenhouse.
- Bend each strip in a n-shape.
- Near one end of the strip, tie a nylon cord around it.
Find out how tight this cord must be around it to make a good, well fitting small tunnel. The photos above show a “wide” tunnel (top photos) or a “narrow” tunnel (bottom photos).
Put a nylon cord every 30 centimeters (every ft) to form a small tunnel.
Use a round object (e.g. a round cap) to tie a nylon cord tight around. Take off the round loop of nylon. In this way you make round loops of equal size.
Two small tunnels next to each other. Each one with nylon loops every 30 centimeters (ft). The width at the bottom is about 12 centimeters (5 inch).
Putting a “normal” tunnel greenhouse over
See the photo above, the front tunnel greenhouse.
- Put a normal tunnel greenhouse over the transparent cover or the small tunnel(s).
- Put a big flat perspex plate “tight” against each end of the normal tunnel.
- Put a stick or an iron pen or a slanting stepping stone against each end plate.
Under the fly-tight double tunnel greenhouse it is warm by day and the soil does not dry out so fast. Regularly open (or remove) the greenhouses to water the leeks and the soil. And to check if the small leeks touch the small tunnel(s). Then rebuild and close the tunnel again to make it fly-tight.
- When the small leeks touch the small tunnel(s), remove the small tunnels.
See the photo above, the front tunnel greenhouse.
- Put the normal tunnel greenhouse over the leeks.
- Put the big flat perspex plate “tight” against each end of the normal tunnel.
- Put a stick or an iron pen or a slanting stepping stone against each end plate.
From then on, let the leeks grow bigger under the normal fly-tight tunnel greenhouse. Regularly open the tunnel greenhouse to water the plants and the soil and to remove weed plants. Then rebuild and close the tunnel again to make it fly-tight.
The leeks grow well under the tunnel. The temperature under the tunnel does not get too high; the leeks don’t suffer from that.
- Remove the tunnel green house when the leeks touch the top of the tunnel.
- Let the leeks grow bigger in the open air.
- When leeks are pencil thick, they can be replanted in the soil separately.
March 1 (late winter): One row of zigzag planted mini leeks in a furrow.
March 1 (late winter): One small tunnel over the mini leeks. At left a small end plate and at right a transparent cover and a plant saucer with water.
March 1 (late winter): One normal tunnel over the whole. And big, closed transparent perspex end plates.
April 1 (early spring) (after removal of the normal tunnel): Two furrows with zigzag growing small leeks. The small tunnels have been removed.
April 1 (early spring): There is a normal tunnel over. With big end plates. At this side with 2 bamboo sticks and a stepping stone slanting against the sticks (for fly-tightness).
May 1 (mid spring) (after removal of the normal tunnel): Two rows of bigger leeks.
May 1 (mid spring): There is a normal tunnel over. With big end plates. At this side with 2 bamboo sticks and a stepping stone slanting against the sticks (for fly-tightness).
June 1 (late spring): The normal tunnel has been removed because the leeks are too big. Many leeks from the right side row have been replanted separately in the garden soil.
June 1 (late spring): These are the separately planted in my garden soil.
Mini leeks in a small “normal” greenhouse
You can replant mini leeks in a small greenhouse.
Loosen the garden soil and mix the earth with manure and agricultural lime. Replant the mini leeks in plant beds in the soil. Spray water on after planting.
Put transparent covers over the plant beds with mini leeks.
Close the greenhouse.
3) Replant leeks using replanting tubes:
You can plant leeks in the soil using replanting tubes of tip 41). Before replanting, make sure that the soil around the (small) plant leeks is moist. Otherwise garden earth can fall from the root ball.
- Plant leeks from this row are replanted into the soil. There is a round hole in the soil (from replanting the previous plant leek).
- To use the replanting tubes, the round hole must be filled with garden earth. Use a garden trowel to do this.
- Use scissors to shorten the leaves of the plant leek before replanting.
- Put the replanting tubes over the plant leek.
- Push the outer replant tube into the soil.
- You have to push hard, to cut the roots of the plant leek.
- Meanwhile turning the outer replanting tube can help to get the outer tube deep enough (until the rubber band touches the soil).
- Turn the outer replanting tube to release the roots of the plant leek (from the garden soil).
- Lift the replanting tubes (with plant leek) out of the soil.
- At the new postion, use a plant hole tube to make a round plant hole in the soil.
- Put the replanting tubes in the planting hole.
- Push on the inner tube to push the plant leek out of the outer tube.
- Meanwhile lift the replanting tubes out of the planting hole.
- Pour water in the plant hole to wash garden earth around the root ball.
- Many plant leeks in the garden soil.
Plans in 2022:
- Plant mini leeks in the garden soil under a double greenhouse tunnel (as described at 2). Put perpex plate around the plants and on top. Put garden earth on the soil to form white shafts. Variety: summer leeks and autumn leeks.
- Plant mini leeks in the garden soil under a double greenhouse tunnel (as described at 2). Variety: summer leeks, autumn leeks, winter leeks.
- Replant more leeks using replanting tubes.
- Strew a thin layer of dry sand or sowing soil on the seeds.
- Let the seeds germinate and let the leek plants grow bigger indoors at a temperature of about 15 to 20 C (59 to 68 F).
Let the leeks grow bigger indoors. Or put the big tray with small leeks in the garden under a (tunnel) greenhouse. Let the leeks in the tray grow bigger.
Preparing the garden soil
The same actions as described (above) at Preparing the garden soil in Z).
- The wire nails fit in the holes in the bottom.
- The plastic bag with cardboard plate can lie on the wire nails.
- The plastic bag is longer than the size of the tray. It has a “loose end”.