MollyGreen.com | Spring on the Homestead | Spring 2017 24
Unlike eating the green and white parts of onions, only the
white of leeks is eaten. The deeper the leek is planted, the more
the stem is bleached. As the leeks grow to one inch thickness,
be sure to pile up the dirt around the stems to encourage more
bleaching and more goodness. Be sure to only pile the dirt so
deep that it comes up just below the branching of the greens.
The other option of piling the dirt up is to plant the leeks in a
trench and then fill in the trench around the leeks as they grow.
Some leek varieties are very cold-hardy, surviving temperatures
as low as 15 degrees. These make for great late season harvests,
even more so than onions. Actually, there are two categories
of leeks: long and short season. The short season leeks are not
hardy to frosts. The long season leeks, which are harvested at
one hundred days or more, are very cold-hardy and are good
until the ground freezes in northern gardens. Leeks are heavy
nitrogen feeders. An organic fish fertilizer will greatly improve
Young leeks can be harvested when small and are quite good
when braised. The larger leeks, such as those usually seen in
grocery stores, are perfect for the stereotypical and much-loved
potato and leek soup. Unlike onions, which can be cured and
stored for many months in a cool area, leeks kept in a tight plastic wrap will only last about two weeks in the refrigerator.
I love onions and leeks. Without them, our homestead diet
would be drastically different and not nearly as delicious. Be
sure to add them to your garden this coming spring!
Amanda Idlewild was born and raised in Alaska
and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She and her
husband, along with three dogs and an ever-fluctu-
ating number of chickens and turkeys, are home-
steading in south central Alaska. Follow their homestead journey at