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Are my leeks doomed?

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Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 11:40 am

Yesterday we were at the nursery picking up seeds, and looking at starter plants available. We saw a pony pack of leeks for what seemed like a good price and decided to get them rather than the onions. I figured that the leeks were in the onion family, so they must be hardy like onions, right? Well last night, after the leeks were planted, I started looking around the internet and found that they aren't as hardy as the onions. In fact it looks like I should have waited two more months until the last expected frost to plant them. I covered them with a bucket to protect them from the frost, but I'm doubting they'll make it. Does anyone have any thoughts? Did I just doom my leeks?
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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/28/2010, 12:02 pm

Did you give them a hair-cut? That sometimes helps them survive early. You can also pull soil-mulch-lawn clippings up and over them to protect them. I bet (I hope?) they surprise you.

Deborah ....who always thought leeks were very hardy, but I suppose a baby is a baby unless it is a pea.

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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 12:07 pm

I hope they surprise me in a good way. Like I said, I did no research on them before planting them (I've tried to do a good bit on everything else.)

I haven't given them a haircut. Do you think I should do that today, and then just cover the stubs with Mel's mix?
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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/28/2010, 12:20 pm

The haircut isn't required, it just allows them to not put so much energy into keeping the tops healthy and instead allow energy to go to the roots. But today is as good as any day. Trim them like chives, do not cut below the leaf joint. I would use something lighter then Me’s (light as it is) like grass clippings, or vermiculite/peat mix.

If you have some old windows you could just put them over the grid with some clippings or other insulating material on the edges of the window (PNW advice, not sure how that works in Utah)

Praying for your babies (hey it's Sunday and Y'shua/Jesus cares about the desires of our hearts)
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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 12:34 pm

I'm assuming that the haircut will just be a one time thing, and then just trust them to grow as they need on their own? If nothing else, I can eat the clipping and get something for my money. The leaves are as fine as grass right now, so I don't know if it will amount to much, but it's something, right?

What do you mean "lighter than Mel's mix"? Weight wise the mix I came up with is really light and fluffy, I just can't imagine it being hard for the leaves to get through when it's time.
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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/28/2010, 12:37 pm

You assume correctly and you are right, Mel's will be fine.

Grow, grow, grow!
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eating leeks

Post  LaFee on 3/28/2010, 12:59 pm

Unless they are very, *very* tender, I don't think you're going to get a good opinion of eating leeks by trying the tops -- they get very tough and very leathery -- and pretty pungent.

Leeks are in the onion family, yes, but their flavor is far more subtle than onions. I use more leeks than onions -- but that's pretty common in Europe, where I live.

I saute them with bacon...roast them with potatoes -- they're not only more subtle, but they aren't as rough on your digestion as onions can sometimes be, too.

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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  martha on 3/28/2010, 1:46 pm

I don't know about this time of year, but if you put leeks in in the fall, they resume growing in the spring. My leeks from last fall looked so dead, even though I read that this is what they do, I felt really uncomfortable leaving such an eyesore in my garden. (Most of you know that my garden is at the restaurant my husband and I own, so "what the neighbors think" does matter!) Anyway, I was out there yesterday, and all the dead looking foliage slid right off leaving healthy green leek tops that are obviously resuming their growth. I'll still say a little prayer for the little ones, but I think your chances are pretty good.
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Re: Are my leeks doomed?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 6:49 pm

When we planted the leeks yesterday they looked like four bunches of grass: long, thin, and standing up tall. This morning after I took off the bucket and let them warm up, they looked droopy and weren't standing up anymore. So I let them soak up the sun for most of the day, and by 4:00 they looked a little better. Since they looked so bad this morning, I cut them down anyway and covered up what was left with Mel's mix. I'll try to remember and post here if they recover.

I did try nibbling on the clippings. They had that onion flavor, but it was still like eating a few blades of grass. I'll probably just put the rest of the clippings on the compost pile.
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Update

Post  Kabaju42 on 4/10/2010, 5:03 pm

The cold spell has past (at least for now) and it looks like the leeks have grown quite a bit. So I guess they aren't doomed afterall.



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