Grow leeks as part of a crop rotation because they will quickly succumb to diseases if replanted in the same spot year after year. Planting them deep produces white and tender stems.
When to plant: Spring.
At their best: Winter.
Time to complete: 30 minutes for sowing; 1 ½ hours for planting out.
You will need: Leek seed, seed tray, seed compost, dibber or slim trowel.
Sow in trays
In spring, sow seed thinly across a seed tray and keep in a cold frame or cool, sheltered spot while they germinate. When the seedlings are about 8in (20cm) tall, they are ready for planting out.
In a well-prepared bed, mark out a line and use your dibber to make holes 8in (20cm) deep and 6in (15cm) apart. Drop a leek into each hole, making sure the roots reach the bottom, and then water them in. There is no need to backfill with soil; this will happen slowly, of its own accord, allowing some light to reach the small leek plants.
Crop care and harvest
Leeks require very little attention after planting. You only need to water during prolonged dry spells. The crop will sit happily in the ground until you want to harvest, but the stems are prone to snapping when extracted from frozen soil. If freezing conditions are forecast, lift the leeks beforehand, trim the leaves, wrap them in newspaper, and store in a cool place.