When you buy a leek at the grocery store it usually has a beautiful, long white stem. That’s achieved through a process called “blanching” and there are several different methods—most involve hilling up soil around the plant as it grows. Some people put a 3- or 4-inch pipe around the leek to shade it as it grows upward.
Eliot Coleman suggests digging out the leeks when they get to a certain size, making a 10-inch hole, then dropping in the leek. He lets the leek grow to maturity from there. So, we tried it:
They were getting quite large—borderline too big for this. Also quite floppy, so it was definitely time to do something.
Adam marked a line on an old piece of leftover conduit pipe. It pulled out a plug of soil to make a beautiful little 10 inch hole for each leek.
We did not fill in the holes, per Coleman’s instructions. They will kinda fill in over time anyway. They needed a bit of extra water those first few days, but seem to be fine now. I also did this with another row of smaller leeks in the main garden. They seemed like they handled the transition better. The time is supposedly right when the leeks are about pencil width. These stock tank ones were a bit bigger than that — you can see how far they still stick up after transplanting them 10 inches deeper!
We were out of town all last week, so we missed the start of high season by just a couple days. Fortunately we found a cousin who was eager to take us up on our offer of free pick-your-own berries. When we got back we immediately headed into the garden and picked a couple gallons of haricot verts. They are absolutely gorgeous, and magically delicious. Green beans and raspberries have been in just about every meal for 5 days now.
Even more amazing are the banana peppers and one tiny cherry tomato. Never before have I harvested those in June. Yes, this was June 30, but still! What a year.
Now as we head into the hot hot heat of summer, cukes (trellis to the right) and tomatoes (big structure at the back) are taking off.
Our hops plant (on trellis on chimney) has reached the stage of total ridiculousness. There is no way Adam will use this many hops in his home brewing. Garlic is just about ready to harvest. The grape plant on the rabbit fence is also a bit out of control—I want to move that next year, even though it will be a pain. Even Master Gardeners definitely make mistakes with plant placement!
Here’s a close-up view of my tomato trellis. I’m on track to have my best tomato season ever (knock on wood). Maintaining it has been easier than I expected. Make sure you check on your plants about 2 times per week to remove suckers and make sure the string is wrapped around new growth. I’ve also added a few more pieces of twine for branches that seem to need it.
Whew, busy times! And hot.
July 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm
A HA! That’s why my leeks DON’T look like theirs. Mystery solved, and thank you.