Early leeks

Kate Collyns - 23 September 2013

I’ve been picking ‘baby’ or young/small leeks for a few weeks now, but this wet spell has meant that the number of baby leeks is decreasing as they all bulk up nicely. I’ve been trialling one or two new varieties: in the picture you can see from right to left: 1 row Axima; 1 row Zermatt; 1 row Long de Mézières; 2 rows Hannibal; 2 rows Bandit (next to the clover green manure).

Zermatt in particular is nice and tall at the moment; Bandit and Hannibal are old faithfuls, and bulk up well for the winter, whereas Axima and Zermatt are earlies. Long de Mézières had the fewest leeks for transplanting from the polytunnel, but because germination wasn’t so good for this variety, most of the transplants were a good size already; they are also a nice tall leek, so the smaller ones are perfect for harvesting now as baby leeks.

I planted them all just a few inches apart, knowing that I’d be harvesting some at baby stage, so could pull every other leek, and leave lots of room for the remaining plants to grow nice and big. Soon I’ll be picking the regular size leeks too, as many are big boys already! I’m also hoping that there will enough enough baby leeks left for the Great Bath Feast at the Abbey on 2nd October: I’m donating 200 of the monkeys to this charitable feast, to be turned into something super fresh and special by Michelin-starred chef Sam Moody from the Bath Priory. Should be an amazing evening!

Kate set up Grown Green @ Hartley Farm in 2010, a two-acre market garden in Wiltshire between Bath and Bradford on Avon, selling to farm shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants. There are three polytunnels, herb beds and a small field for other vegetables and flowers.

The seed variety field lab is looking into Open Pollinated (OP) seed varieties available to non-organic growers and trialling them in organic systems with a view to either creating a demand for them organically or saving them on farm for use in subsequent years. The field lab is part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme which is aiming to improve productivity, quality and environmental performance in organic and low-input agriculture.

leeks.jpg

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Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation Open Pollinated Seeds

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