American Flag or Allium ampeloprasum is milder flavored than most other onion-family crops, you can mulch long-season varieties in fall for winter and spring harvest.
Shape: upright, fan-shaped
Leeks are typically chopped into slices 5–10 mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek.
Sweet and mild, leeks are gentle on the digestive system and play the role of onion in dishes, only toned down. Unlike onions, leeks don’t produce bulbs, but stash their flavour in thick, juicy stems that look similar to giant scallions. Leafy stems are pretty, and growing leeks doesn’t require much room in the garden.
Common name: ramp, ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic
Height: Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 1 feet
Difficulty level: moderately difficult
Planting & Care
Sunlight: Partial sun
Soil: Well-drained, rich soil, high in organic matter. Optimum pH is 6.2 to 6.8. Requires plentiful, even moisture for good yields.
Water: water moderately
Fertilizer: Add compost or organic fertilizer to the leek bed the season prior to planting. Otherwise, work make a point to work organic matter into the ground a few days before planting.
- Choose a weed-free, well-drained location.
- Raised beds are ideal.
- Leeks are good for intercropping with other garden plants, especially early-maturing spring greens.
- Do not plant where other onion family crops have been grown in the past 3 years.
- You can direct-seed leeks, or start transplants indoors.
- Long-season varieties are best started indoors.
- Start transplants about 8 to 10 weeks before last frost date.
- Sow seeds in flats about ¼ inch apart and ½ inch deep.
- Transplant to cell-type containers when they are about 2 inches tall.
- If you skip this step and continue growing in open flats, simply tease apart and trim roots when transplanting into the garden.
- Around the average last day of frost, set hardened-off transplants 4 to 8 inches deep, 4 to 6 inches apart, in rows 20 inches apart.
- Deep planting reduces need for hilling to blanch the base of the plants.
- Transplants should be about 6 to 12 inches tall - the bigger, the better.
- Only a few inches of leaf need to show above the soil.
- Direct seed about 4 weeks before average last frost ½ inch deep, 1 inch apart, in rows 20 inches apart.
- Thin to 4 to 6 inches apart.
- Hill or mound soil around stems several times to blanch as leeks grow.
- (A single large hilling while plants are young can cause them to rot.
- ) Or, place a portion of cardboard paper towel center around the lower part of the stem.
- Leeks have shallow root systems and need consistent moisture and good weed control.
- Water weekly if weather is dry, and mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Harvesting: Leeks are easy to harvest. They have a relatively long growing season, meaning you can harvest leeks all summer long in some areas. After the harvest begins, prolong it by only picking the leeks you plan to use, allowing the rest to continue growing. When to Harvest - Leeks are typically harvested during late summer or early autumn. In practice, leek harvesting can begin about 60 days after planting and continue until the harvest is complete, or the weather makes further harvest unfeasible. Be aware of the weather and fully harvest all remaining leeks ahead of the first hard freeze. How to Harvest - Vegetable garden leeks should be removed whole. If you grip the top of the plant and pull, it is likely to break, and much of the leeks will be lost. Instead, loosen the soil with your fingers and lift out the leeks by their root systems. Prolong Harvest for Soil Protection - You can continue growing leeks until the first hard frost kills them back. By harvesting slowly, you allow the unharvested leeks to grow larger and more flavorful. Only pick what you need until the danger of a freeze prompts completing the full harvest.
- The different ways of preparing the vegetable are:
Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste.
Fried, which leaves it crunchier and preserves the taste.
Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.
In Turkish cuisine, leeks are chopped into thick slices, then boiled and separated into leaves and finally filled with a filling usually containing rice, herbs (generally parsley and dill), onion and black pepper.