When to plant leeks and spring onions
Autumn and winter, to ensure that the leeks and spring onions grow during cold weather and mature as the temperature heats up. In cooler and temperate climates spring onions, scallions and shallots can also be planted in early spring.
How to plant leeks and spring onions
Leeks and spring onions can tolerate fairly poor soils but develop better if they are planted in soil which has been heavily fertilised and well composted the season before for demanding crops such as lettuce. They prefer a neutral soil with a pH of around 6.5, so acid soils should be sweetened with lime, a fortnight before planting. When preparing the bed, dig in Searles Cow Manure throughout the soil three weeks before and remove any lumps or weeds or alternatively plant straight into Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix. This mix is ideal for pot plantings. Care should be taken to sow the seeds to the depth recommended on the packet, pressing the soil down gently over them, otherwise germination may fail. Germinating shoots should be protected from hot sun for a couple of days after emerging, and thinned out once they are large enough to handle. The ‘thinnings’ can either be transplanted elsewhere or used in cooking immediately. Seedlings raised in punnets should be transplanted so their roots are just covered with soil and spaced according to the directions on the label. If they have grown too tall before transplanting, their green tops may be snipped back to approximately 5cm to force the plant’s energy back down into the roots, and encourage good development.
How to maintain
Hand weed between the plants as they grow, taking care not to disturb the delicate roots. Do not cover roots with extra soil as they break through the surface, because this will rot them. Maintain even soil moisture levels but do not over-water.
Pests and diseases
Thrips cause white spotting of the foliage and can be combated with companion planting or spraying with an organic spray, Searles Ecofend Natural Solutions – Vegetable & Garden.
Harvesting leeks and spring onions
Harvest when they reach their desired width. When harvesting pull each individual plant from the roots gently so as not to disturb the roots of the other plants you want left in the ground for later use.