DUCKS for THEE in 2023

ducks4you

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Duck operetta, G&S, 01-06-23.jpg
 

heirloomgal

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It would be difficult to top leeks as a soup ingredient, even with just potatoes and some milk 🥣.

Originally, I didn't think that my garden environment was right for leeks - then, I gave them a try. Mostly, they are treated the same as bulb onions and do just fine. They need a longer season but have those high soil fertility needs. I will be starting both in flats in the unheated greenhouse in about 4 weeks.

Starting earlier than that (for the onions) meant that I felt compelled to shear them because of excess growth and that the outdoor conditions were not good enough for setting out. Nope ... too hard on them and probably the nutrient-rich soil needs were a part in that. I suppose that I could have added fertilizer to their watering but just timing seemed more appropriate than shearing to limit growth and fertilizing to encourage it.

Leeks do seem to benefit from a more benign growing location - like some afternoon shade. But, they don't always have it. Fertilizer sprinkled as a side dressing has to be done with care because of how their leaves grow. They capture whatever falls on the leaves.

Steve
Apparently, one of the ways you can grow great leeks is planting them in a bed where beans were grown the year before. This seems to give them that boost they need to achieve size.

@Branching Out Do you shear your transplants? I found a hard shearing, maybe even a few times, very helpful for driving the growth into width instead of scraggly height. I even do it a month after planting. I can honestly say my leeks have never been anything near the size of grocery store leeks, but there is so much flavor in them even small it didn't seem to matter. I do find they are a more tricky veggie to grow, they are more exacting in the conditions they like. They don't like to have roommates either it seems.
 

Phaedra

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@Phaedra don't you plant the root bottoms you cut off green onions?

@Branching Out maybe you could buy some leeks and enjoy them, then plant the root part.
Yes, I did. I always feel that it's a waste to throw them away. However, compared with scallions (or onions bottoms), leeks didn't grow very well. They will grow, even in the water, but they will bolt anyway when spring comes.

So, like @Branching Out said, scallion bottoms can grow very well and turn into robust new plants, but it's more difficult for leeks to create an impressive crop again.

But, as long as you have space, it's still worthy - maybe you can't harvest much, but the leek flowers are as adorable as all other ornamental varieties in the Allium family.

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Phaedra

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The main issue I encountered in the previous years about growing leeks is the leaf miner. :he

So far, I have tried twice, and the results were both horrible. They also appeared in the garlic stems sometimes, but we didn't eat the stems when the targeted crop was the bulb. Leeks are different as we need the stems.

I will give it a try again, but 1000000% with fine-meshed nets.
 

ducks4you

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Not sure...
This site says, "no."
 

ducks4you

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As I have not EVER bought leeks to eat, or bought them to grow, my experiment with leeks is...personal.
I didn't start them early last year, even though I prepped a 3' x 6' separated (from the other beds by 20+ feet) specifically for them to grow.
Funny, I laid down several lawn and leaf bags full of mulched leaves, but they didn't really break down until I started to rip them apart.
The old wooden 6inch "raised bed" type borders probably won't last much longer, but I expect them to hold up for 2023. Right now all soil as settled to ground level. I have some dug up super rich compacted bedding, mostly old horse manure from my shelter waiting to be moved to this bed. I will probably layer with soiled hay and soiled straw, then more manure, then more from the shelter.
This winter is turning out to be more normal temperatures, high's in the upper 40's, many nights not getting below 32, making it possible to dig.
I also have enough 3yo soiled bedding to top dress some 2-3 inches for leek planting.
I do LOVE eating onions, and, if the leeks grow well, DD, the Chef, may prefer them.
We are having a lamb arm roast tonight for dinner, btw, mashed potatoes and a quart of last Fall's green beans.
PLEASE post any experiences growing leeks! I learn a LOT from your mistakes!! :gig
 

ducks4you

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Just when you already have too many jobs to do...
 

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