Monday, January 23, 2012

Upside Down I Planted, Duh

      Sometimes you can read too much on the internet.  I was researching leek seeds and sprouting, and saw a reference to leek seeds that said they were unique, as the plant emerged first from the seed, not the roots.  That confused me, so on my first transplanting, I stuck the black seeds in the soil with the "plant" up in the air.  Let me explain with pictures:

Leek seeds started on 1/12/2012
Leek sprout
     The first picture is the pile of remaining leek sprouts after my previous transplantings.  The picture above includes a shot of my trusty little 2.25 inch Swiss army knife for size reference.  The little tweezers are perfect for grabbing the seed heads to tease the leeks apart.  On the sprout above, the seed is on the left side, the green part is the stem, and the little white part on the right is the main root emerging.  So, if you plant the seed down in the soil, you have planted upside down.  Duh.  And now you need to go back and reverse 100 little plants that you did a couple of days ago.  Many do look like they will make it.

Eleven day old leek sprouts
      Having learned a bit from that blunder, the new plan is to put the sprouts on soil, then using a small screw driver, tease the white root part into the soil.  That works pretty well.  These plants are obviously planted too close to each other and will need to be separated after they are two to three inches tall.  They will then be put into a bed to grow to maybe a foot tall, when they should be transplanted one last time for final grow out.  All the transplanting allows for the leeks to be planted more deeply each time.  That will blanch the bottom part of the leek for that nice white appearance.

Leek harvested 5/5/2011

      This leek was actually a volunteer last year, and the one and only leek I had.  This coming spring I will probably harvest a dozen that are now in the garden.  They are one of the most cold hardy crops, and will overwinter successfully even without protection.   So what I am starting now are intended mostly for January of 2013 or next spring.  I cleaned up the leek from above:

and enjoyed his company immensely.  Had I transplanted the leek to a deeper hole last summer or fall, that nice white part would be maybe eight inches long.  So now, I am thinking about the leek and potato soup that  I woulda, coulda, and shoulda made last spring!

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