They really do take forever to grow (we start our Leeks in January) but I do believe that they are one of the most rewarding vegetables to grow in a cold climate. These are super-hardy plants that are easy to start as a simple little tray of transplants on any sunny windowsill. They make slow and steady growth with very little care after transplanting and they will become handsome rows of upright strap shaped leaves.
I find it quite astonishing just how cold hardy Leeks can be. The Winters here on our little island, in Cape Breton, are pretty punishing. Serious sub-zero temperatures alternate with thaws that shove little plants right out of the earth. Desiccating wind blows pretty much all the time and this brings up salt-laden spray that lashes the Gardens. It does seem to be a bit of a theme around here that Winter is more for enduring than enjoying.
Anyway… On the Winter days when we have a few days of warmish weather we can push aside the cosy hay mulch and reveal the rows of still-perfect Leeks ready for digging. Very Nice.
Leeks really are such pretty Alliums with glowing white stems and lovely grey-green leaves. Fresh dug Leeks are always welcome in the kitchen. We get to concoct all kinds of creations including Lovely Leek soup, stir-fried Leeks and Leek with Artichoke dip. Fresh Leeks are particularly nice when they are prepared by braising – toss cleaned Leeks with olive oil, pepper and sea salt and braise in a slow oven. A comforting Winter side dish.
The secret thing about Leeks is that they are also a very real showstopper in the flower border. These plants produce stunning lilac and white pompom shaped blooms that look like a Fairy Fireworks spectacular. Plant a few Leeks in an area of the flower Garden that you would like to fill with tall Allium flowers the following Sumer and you will get to enjoy a fairly effortless perennial flower.
Not too shabby at all.3