We have been meaning to dig out the remaining leeks on plot two for a few weeks but with one thing and another they’ve just been forgotten. Ideally leeks that have been overwintered should be dug up by the end of March. And this is why….
Walking past the leeks the other day I noticed that a couple of them have produced a flower stalk.
Leeks are biennials. Sow seeds in early spring and look to plant the young leek seedlings at the allotment by early to mid summer. Leeks stay in the ground for a long time. Some hardy varieties can be left to overwinter. It is in fact the cold winter weather that triggers leeks go to seed. Leeks naturally grow a flower in the spring, during it’s second year, following a period of cold weather.
This highlights the importance of sowing seeds at the right time of year. Make sure temperatures are 45F or above. Subjecting leeks to premature cold conditions can cause them to bolt, as the cold temperature will confuse them into thinking it’s time to flower.
Leeks can still be eaten when they flower, but the flesh becomes fibrous and tough, and it develops a bitter taste. Yum! There’s also a massive hard flower stem running through the middle of the leek…. I think the best thing for them now is to either to let them flower. The flowers are magnificent and attract bees and other pollen loving insects. Or they shall be composted if we need the space.