Leek, or pearl onions - the oldest culture, common throughout the world, but in Russia it appeared only in the last century. Currently, leek is the third most popular onion after garlic and onion.
✔ The cultivation of leeks, of course, begins with the seeds, or rather with their preparation. Seeds of leeks remain viable for 3 years.
Seeds are disinfected (pickled) in the same way as cabbage seeds. To do this, the seeds just before planting are placed in water: first, in hot (40-45 ° C), and then in cold.
For quick seedling germination. To do this, they are laid out on a tissue cloth moistened with water (20-25 ° C) and left in a warm place. After 2-3 days, the seeds are slightly dried (to a state of flowability, so that it is more convenient to sow) and sown immediately.
The described methods of preparation relate to seeds from your own garden, but if you use purchased seeds, then usually no preparation is needed anymore.
But if you decide to grow leeks through podzimny sowing, you do not need to soak and germinate seeds.
✔ Growing leek seedlings
In the southern regions, leek growing is carried out in a seedless way: seeds are sown directly into the ground after May 15.
In the central and northern regions of Russia, leek seedlings are grown. This also contributes to the long growing season of this culture. With some varieties of onions and their growing season can learn in the article on the storage of leeks.
The following seed sowing dates are recommended for seedlings:
middle - end of february (to the boxes on the window) the middle of April (in the glazed greenhouse) and the end of April (under the film on the garden bed). The length of daylight for a leek is 10-12 hours. Therefore, when sowing in February, it is imperative to organize the display of seedlings.
The prepared seeds are sown in small boxes with wet soil with rows in 5 cm. The depth of the groove for sowing is 1-1.5 cm. The crops are covered with film and placed in a well-lit and warm (+ 22 ... + 25 ° C) place. When the first shoots appear, the film is removed, and the indoor temperature is lowered to + 15 ... + 17 ° C during the day and + 10 ... + 12 ° C at night. At this temperature, the seedlings are kept for one week. After that, the temperature is brought to + 17 ... + 20 ° C during the day and + 10 ... + 14 ° C at night and maintained at this level during the entire period of seedling cultivation.
Compliance with the temperature regime is an important condition for harvesting. High temperature in the seedling period is dangerous in that it contributes to the formation of the flower arrow not in the second year of the plant’s life (as it should be), but in the first.
After a month, the thickened shoots are thinned out in such a way that the distance between adjacent plants in a row is 2-3 cm. Seedlings dive into pots with a diameter of 4 cm.
The best results are obtained by growing seedlings in peat pots and peat tablets, since in this case no pick is required.
If conditions permit, then seedlings are watered with compost tea. Such dressings are carried out regularly (in 2 weeks) throughout the entire growing period.
During the growth of seedlings it is recommended to cut the leaves of leeks so that their length remains at the level of 8-10 cm. The leaves can be cut every two weeks, which will ensure the best growth of the roots, as well as thickening of the stem.
Before planting, seedlings of leeks, as well as of other crops, are gradually hardened, that is, carried out on the street, so that the seedlings will get used to normal, not room conditions.
Leek seedling develops slowly. When you reach the age of 6-8 weeks, stem diameter 0.5-0.8 cm and the appearance of three leaves, the seedlings are ready for planting.
✔ Planting seedlings
The most suitable soils for leeks are light, fertile, loamy soils with a neutral environment.
In the preparation of a site for growing leek in the fall, you can add about 6 kg of compost per 1 m2 of soil to the garden. In the spring, you can pour on the bed of humus or compost (about 3 kg per 1 m2). Only in no case dig a bed.
Good leek forerunners are potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, legumes, and cabbage crops.
Seedlings of leeks are planted in the garden in May.
Immediately before planting in a permanent place near the seedlings, it is recommended to shorten the leaves and roots by 1/3. Plant roots can be dipped in a talker - a mixture of clay and mullein, taken in equal quantities. This technique improves the survival rate of seedlings.
For planting seedlings of leeks prepare holes with a depth of 10-13 cm, at the bottom of which put manure (always rotted) or compost. Onion seedlings are planted in one plant in each well. Roots sprinkled with earth, filling the hole in half and watered.
✔ For leeks use the following planting schemes:
two-row - with a distance between seedlings of 15-20 cm with a row spacing of 30-35 cm; multi-row - with a distance between seedlings of 10-15 cm with a row spacing of 20-30 cm. Growing leeks is best done in narrow beds, however, this applies to most vegetables. In wider aisles, you can sow, for example, carrots. These two vegetables are well side by side with each other. Leek is also friends with strawberries (garden strawberries), celery, beetroot and onions.
✔ Care of onion
Care includes soil loosening, hilling, weed control, watering and fertilizing. It is advisable to use mulching in order to make work easier for you, as well as to provide plants with more comfortable conditions.
When the stalks of the plants reach the diameter of the pencil, they pour the earth into the holes. And then every two weeks spend earthing up, it allows you to get a longer bleached stem. During the season spend at least four hilling. It is better to spud plants during watering.
Leeks are quite demanding for irrigation and soil fertility. Regular and abundant watering and feeding is carried out in the first half of the growing season. Good fertilizers are bird droppings and mullein, used as solutions in the ratio of 1:20 and 1: 8, respectively.
The main productive part of a leek is a bleached dummy stem, also called a “leg”. With proper care, the stem reaches up to 50 cm in length and up to 3-4 cm in thickness.
Leek - cold-resistant culture. Adult plants withstand frosts of up to -5 ... -7 ° C and in areas with a mild climate they can winter under snow cover in open ground. However, a cold and rainy summer leads to the formation of a short and thin stem.
Late (winter) varieties of leek onions are characterized by high cold and winter resistance. But because of the long growing season they don’t have time to finish the growth. Therefore, these varieties are recommended to be grown in a greenhouse (film or glazed). When grown in open ground, the plants are transplanted for growing in boxes and transferred to heat. Transplantation is carried out in the autumn before the onset of frost.
That is, perhaps, all that I wanted to tell you about growing and caring for leeks. How to harvest this onion and how to store it can also read here on the site.
Growing leeks is a bit of a painstaking task, but not as difficult as it seems at first glance. How to grow leek starting from sowing seeds you already know and I think you can grow a good crop of this onion.
Have a good harvest!