Yesterday, two of my four Garden Interns helped me clear a bed for growing leeks. I have tried to grow leeks for the past two years, but have always been disappointed in the results. It just seems like they do not reach maturity before the end of growing season. This year, I realized that they overwintered really well, and in fact, multiplied. However, they were not so conveniently located. I pulled them all and threw them in a pile, intending to take them in the house. (Please note the word intending...)
When I realized I hadn't taken them in, I decided to try an experiment. I had always heard that you could grow leeks by cutting off the roots and planting them. I grabbed up the rather scruffy looking leeks and hacked off the roots, then the girls and I planted them right in the ground. Some of them had also formed bulblets, so those were planted, too.
In doing a bit of research on growing leeks, I discovered this awesome post called Leeks for the Lazy Gardener (right up my alley):
Most home gardeners growing leeks start them from seed each year, or just buy transplants. Some smaller varieties are said to mature in 90 days, but the big inch-or-more wide ones like you'll find in the markets take almost 200 days to grow to that size. In order to get a pencil-sized leek seedling ready to set out in April, you'd have to start the seeds in January, tending and transplanting and keeping them under lights. That's too much work for me. I prefer to let my leeks start themselves.
I also want to share with you all the new love of my life...the OXO Garden Knife. OXO sent me this cool looking knife to try. I won't lie to you, the appeal of weaponry in the garden is almost irresistible to me. But I am always dubious of new garden tools...I already have lots of them and it is hard to impress me. Further, it is rare that I will endorse a product. But I am so madly in love with this knife that I will not let anyone else even touch it!
The shape looks like a bulb-planting trowel and a double-bladed kitchen knife were genetically crossed. I know...very Matrix. And yes, I stabbed myself with it a few times as I was not used to the sharp tip. But it is now my favorite weeder and plant divider, as well as self-protection device. (Roaming garden gnomes, you know). The tip slices through dirt, roots and matted green stuff to make pulling weeds a cinch. The sides alternate between a serrated blade and a traditional knife blade, perfect for dividing clumps of perennials or cutting roots off of said leeks.
It is $24.95, so not a cheap tool. But it is super sturdy, and unless I lose it, I can't imaging needing to buy another in the next decade or so. This is the perfect tool for the lazy gardener!
If you have fave gardening tools, I would love to hear about them. Leave me a comment below.