Leeks are in the onion family and need similar conditions to grow their best. They need cool temperatures, rich soil and lots of water especially early in their growth. This vegetable is grown from seed and then transplanted to your garden. The seed will take 2-3 months to be ready to plant out so start your seedlings early in March. In the south they are usually planted out in the fall for a spring harvest, in the north they are planted in the spring for a fall harvest. To improve the flavor of this vegetable mound soil around the stem, which will blanch it white. Gradually add the soil throughout the season not all at one time.
Botanical Family - Alliaceae/Onion Family
Location - Well drained and reasonably free from stones.
Soil - Rich, deep loam with pH 6.0-6.8. Will tolerate moderately acid soil but is must be rich in nitrogen.
Planting Times - Sow indoors in early March, when pencil size thick move to final bed.
Planting Instruction - Use a large stick or narrow shovel to make 6 inch deep holes, set transplants at the bottom of the hole and cover with soil up to the first leaf notch. Leave the rest of the hole unfilled, fill it in gradually to blanch the stem.
Watering - During early stages this vegetable requires an abundance of water.
Weeding - Keep weeded while plants are small.
Disease & Insects - Very few diseases, use rotation.
Harvest - They can be harvested and pulled when the stalk is 1 inch or larger in diameter.
Storage - Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. They should keep for at least a week. If you have a warmer winter young plants may be left to overwinter in the garden if given some protection by mulching.
Leek and Sweet Potato Soup
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until slightly browned. Add the leeks and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cumin and chili powder. Add the stock and sweet potatoes bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree the soup using a blender until smooth. Gently reheat the soup stirring in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper.