Ducks4you 2021 Ragtag Thread

heirloomgal

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@ducks4you I used to be a very passionate leek grower, and I experimented with lots of varieties. I've only gotten away from them because they don't have seeds and I wanted to experiment with other things. Honestly, they are so, so delicious homegrown. I can see why they charge so much for them at the grocery store (most expensive veg here). Much like tomatoes, if you don't grow them yourself you are just not going to get excellent quality ones. I make A LOT of soups, of all different kinds, but the best soups I think I ever made was with my fall harvested leeks. The taste is just out of this world. I've grown several good onion crops, but I stopped growing onions because they just couldn't compare to leeks in flavour and I can get really good onions here that tasted the same as the ones I grew. None of my homegrown onions ever 'wowed' me pretty as they were.

What I found worked for me was starting them early, and definitely keeping them regularly trimmed. That's essential or they get too thin and floppy and never thicken up. I treated them like a lawn while in my window. They also need rich soil to do well in the garden, some swear by plots where beans were previously grown. I enriched with manure. Spacing is also very key - like carrots, if too close they stay really small and stunted. They don't need much water, being an onion they would be prone to rot. They do need room, the more the better. (They will shock really hard, even die, transplanting outside after months inside if done too fast, gotta do that part gently.)

I never trimmed green off my mature leeks as - for some strange reason that is frequently recommended in cook books. For me that was a major part of the flavour, and being home grown there was no toughness to the stems. I found them really clean, unlike sandy store bought leeks. My leeks never got near as big as those store bought giants. I suspect a lot of fertiliser goes into those. I never fertilise in my garden, except for enriching the soil in spring.

Just writing about this makes me miss my leeks! I wonder if I should grow them again next year.....

Edit: They are divine roasted with other vegetables in the oven, little paprika, little salt & p, some olive oil....
 
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heirloomgal

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DH, who "claims" that I am Master Gardener, (and I LET him!), wanted tobacco seeds. I bought these two online yesterday from:
One was developed in Sweden, so cold tolerant, and the other is tropical, set to grow 5 ft tall.
100 seeds in each packet.

Order Summary​

QTY
PRICE​
mail
Bafra Tobacco
Product ID: 1001271
1​
$2.95​
mail
Ahus Tobacco
Product ID: 1002111
1​
$2.95​
Subtotal:​
$5.90​
Discount:​
$0.00​
Shipping:​
$3.95​
Sales Tax:​
$0.00​
Total:​
$9.85​
I grew nicotiana plants years ago, 'Only the Lonely' I think. Scented flowers were amazing. The size of the plants was incredible. Huge! Very ornamental and eye catching family of plants, so exotic looking. I think you'll enjoy these.
 

digitS'

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I've never known much about leeks, I've just grown them.

Starting out years ago, I thought of them as a real, temperate climate crop. Semi-arid might not work, but I tried them. They grew!

Over the years, there have been several varieties. None of what you ordered, Ducks'. The Rally Leeks that were new-to-me in 2021 did very well.

I've never tried to blanch them. Let me add just one thing to what HeirloomGal said about having leeks in the garden. Don't sprinkle any fertilizer over the plants. I made that mistake once with a commercial organic fertilizer. Those flat leaves of leeks (not round like onions) trap dirt and fertilizer. Impossible to "dust them off." Yuck! Keep them clean.

Now with starting them: they are on the same schedule as the onions. Seed sown about the first of February in the unheated greenhouse. No lights - heat comes on in mid-March. Cover the containers if there is the danger that the soil may freeze. I have started onions and leeks in mid-January. That was too much bother by the time I could get the plants into the garden.

After harvest: most of the leeks are chopped, bagged and placed in the freezer. Out they come for lots or few - especially for soup. Yes! Potato and Leek soup is so simple and so very tasty :). Other soups too, but we have baskets of sweet onions in the basement to work our way through so those frozen leeks can wait awhile.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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if you have a garden space where you can afford to let things grow for a few seasons it is pretty easy to find out if you have onions that can tolerate your winters. first get it cleaned up in about the middle of summer and then put a line where you want your onions to go for the next few years. put down the seed and cover it up while also dragging a tined rake through it to the sides which will help space the seeds out more. this way there is less thinning later. cover them up, water in and wait for them to sprout. after that they'll grow until the cold weather comes along. keep weeded.

the next spring what comes up will be your survivors and some of those may even be big enough to flower. don't pull or get rid of the flower heads as those will be your seeds for the next years. thin if you want to, but otherwise let them grow, eat some of what you want but i liked to see what happened with them all growing together and i got a pile of small bulbs which i'll eat the bigger ones and use the smaller ones next spring for onion sets. i'll have to get them wrapped up in towels and put in boxes soon for the winter storage here. i made the mistake of putting some in plastic containers thinking they were dry enough to store that ways but they do give off humidity and they started rooting and rotting by the next spring so instead of doing that i think they need to be stored in a paper bag or something that breathes (hence the towel). next spring before it gets too warm i'll be out poking some of these starts in the gardens where i want onions to grow. the larger ones (if there's any left) i'll use as flower sources and for getting more seeds. the smaller ones should not flower (but a few might) and those will be our mid and later summer eating onions and any thinnings will be green onions.

once you plant onion seeds though you'll have them dying back towards the middle of summer so you need to get out of there what you want to keep for replanting later and of course you will miss some (they can be pretty tiny). so that is why i say to only plant a bunch of onion seeds directly in a garden where you want them to come back for a few seasons and then you can get them out of there.

keep weeded and watered. i start with pretty good soil for onions so i don't fertilize them after planting. i also don't compost them for the winter. i only want plants that can survive our cold weather winters.

we were talking about growing onion sets on SS so here is a link to that thread for further reading (plus a link is in there for how to grow onions seeds too :) ):

 

digitS'

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Test site.

Knowing that my gardens are just about 200 miles north of Walla Walla, I thought that I may be able to follow the practice of sowing seed for that variety directly in the garden in late August.

The first trial, about 1/3rd of the plants bolted to seed as soon as it warmed in the spring. The second trial, 100% bolted. No bulb, scrawny things - wasted seed.

Variety is likely to make a difference. Habit has meant that I store shallots in the garage through the winter. I see little reason why the sets couldn't be planted in the fall. It seems likely that the seed for shallots would also perform well sown at that time.

Steve
 

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