Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Yesterday I harvested the last leeks of the season. As I was digging them, I realised that at any time of the year I have leeks at some stage of growth on my allotment.

As I come to the end of this seasons crop I already have little seedlings growing.

These will be transplanted in a few weeks once each leek is about the thickness of a pencil.

Although I have harvested all the leeks that I am going to eat, I have of course left some to flower so that I can collect the seeds for future years.

There are flower buds already forming on these.

After flowering the seed heads develop. The next photo was taken in September.

I pick the seed heads in the autumn and keep them in a cool dry place until I shake out the seeds to plant in early spring.

So the life history of the leeks I ate yesterday,

  • Summer 2006 - a leek left to flower and go to seed

  • Autumn 2006 - seed head picked and stored over the winter

  • Spring 2007 - seeds sowed in seed bed

  • Summer 2007 - leek seedlings transplanted to growing position

  • Autumn 2007 - Spring 2008 - leeks harvested.

Not exactly fast food!

In a fast changing world, there are aspects of our lives that would be unrecognisable and probably incomprehensible to our grandparents and great-grandparents, yet I know that both my grandfathers and their fathers, grew vegetables and saved seed from year to year in the same way that I do now.

Its nice to feel the connection to the past as I tend my little plot, looking after the soil and the plants and growing food for my family in the same way as generations of people before me.


Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Well said!

Heather L. said...

I loved hearing about and seeing your leeks! I do enjoy leeks myself, but have never grown them yet. I did buy a rhubarb plant this week and put it in a corner of the cutting flower bed!

BurdockBoy said...

Sound like you've got the leek growing down to an art.

Leeks grow sooooo slow. Lately I haven't been able to get my act together to grow them-I need a more stable garden I guess. I do love them though. Back in Wisco I knew some great wild leek patches. I miss the spring meals of potato wild leek soup, Lake Superior Whitefish, and rhubarb pie.

barefoot gardener said...

That is beautiful. The sense of constancy that you conveyed with this post was very moving....

Thank you for sharing.