The Wind that Drives Women Mad (transplanting leeks)

I got the title of this post from some documentary on the Western U.S. That line has stuck with me, and resonates on days like today.

It is about the worst day for transplanting imaginable–sunny, warm, and incredibly windy. Still, I thought that it’d be better for my leeks to be sunk in the ground a bit rather than sitting out in their flats getting whipped around.

Because the ideal leek has a longish blanched white and light-green shank, they are transplanted in dibbled holes that leave only the top inch or two of their leaves sticking up above the surface, and often they are hilled throughout the season as well.

I fill my watering can with water laced with fish emulsion and pour some directly in the hole before setting in the skinny little plants. Then their roots are directly in contact with moisture (though the water should drain fairly freely–if the water sits in a puddle in the hole, your soil is too compacted).

I pull some soil around the plant and very gently firm the soil around it while making sure the top of the plant is still above the soil. The end result is leeks in little divets that will fill up as the leek grows and rain washes the soil into them.

I’ll likely top-dress the bed with some aged horse manure once they get a little more established, and mulch with dried grass clippings or straw.

I grow the heirloom Blue Solaise–a leek that can get massively thick and overwinters well (not that there are usually many that make it that long without getting eaten).

I managed to get 145 leeks into the 58′ x 2 1/2′ row I’d worked up yesterday with the help of my son. That leaves about 50 that will have to live somewhere else in the garden.

Considering the strength of the wind, I think I’ll take a few hours off gardening this afternoon for online coursework and try again this evening when the 30-mile-an-hour blasts will hopefully have died down a bit.


One response to this post.

  1. How can anyone resist a post with a title like that one? I’m glad to have found your lively and interesting blog!

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