The nutritional value
Leek is a vegetable brought from the Mediterranean. It was known and appreciated in antiquity (in particular, in Greece, Rome, Egypt), and at present it is one of the most popular vegetables grown in our gardens.
Leek as a biennial plant in the first year of cultivation forms an onion and leaves. In the second year of cultivation appear white-green buds, which can reach up to 200 cm in height. After flowering and seed formation, the plant most often dies. Leek, unlike onions, is characterized by a very developed root system.
Leek is a low-calorie vegetable that contains a lot of vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, provitamin A, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sulfur. Used in cooking, primarily as a seasoning.
Vegetable contains essential oils and has a beneficial effect on the human body, in particular, increases the appetite, reduces cholesterol, has a diuretic effect, helps with colds, has a positive effect on the digestive system, and also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Leek can cause bloating.
What climatic and soil conditions are necessary for growing a vegetable - leek. Growing this plant is possible only in a sunny place.
This plant is not demanding when it comes to temperature. A temperature of about 5º C is enough for it to germinate. The optimum temperature for growth is 18-25º C. Leek has very high requirements when it comes to moisture. It does not tolerate droughts, therefore, in case of lack of precipitation, vegetables should be watered, especially in summer and autumn.
To get a good harvest, you need an appropriate basis. Leek prefers clay-sandy, fertile and humus-rich soil. It is best to plant leeks in the first or second year after fertilizing the soil with manure. Well-developed compost can also improve soil structure.
Agricultural technology allows the use of such a composition: 1 liter of mullein is diluted with 10 liters of water. This solution can be poured between rows and soil along the beds. Liquid should not be poured onto seedlings, since leeks cannot tolerate this. You can also water the plant with infusion of freshly cut grass (for example, nettle).
Regardless of the introduction of organic fertilizer to obtain a high yield mineral fertilizers are necessary. The optimal amount of nitrogen is 150-250 kg / ha. The dose of nitrogen fertilizers is recommended to be divided in half and one part should be placed before the growing season, and the second for additional feeding.
Doses of phosphate fertilizers are determined on the basis of chemical analysis. The optimum phosphorus content in the soil should be at least 60-80 mg / dm3. The potassium content available in the soil should be at least 150 mg / dm3. Potassium sulfate is supplied to the soil in the amount of 200-250 kg / ha in spring.
The cultivation of a leek is not as difficult as it seems at first glance, if it is followed precisely, the plant will take root, grow healthy and tasty.
The cultivation of leek is carried out both with the use of seedlings and sowing from seeds directly into the ground. As a rule, the first method is used.
Growing leek from seedlings
How to grow leek from seedlings? Depending on the variety used and the estimated harvest time, seeds are sown from March to May. The seedling production time is approximately 8-10 weeks. Seedlings do not require picks.
If the seedlings are planted in April, then the harvest season falls on the period of late summer and autumn. In the case of planting seedlings in July, the harvest is harvested in the spring of next year. Saplings that are not less than 10 cm tall can be planted in the ground at a distance of 20-35 cm. The temperature outside should not fall below zero, since the seedlings may not settle down.
Growing Leek Seed
Growing from seed is a cheaper way, but the plants are of lower quality.
Sowing of seeds is carried out from the beginning of April.
The distance between rows should be up to 30 cm. This method should be used to grow later vegetable varieties. It has the following disadvantages: the seeds are small and difficult to sow at the correct distance; weather conditions affect seedlings.
Planting leek on a permanent place requires proper preparation of the base. It should be fertilized and cleaned of weeds. Vegetables can not be grown in areas after harvesting other bulbous vegetables, as it increases the likelihood of their being affected by diseases and the appearance of pests characteristic of bulbous plants. Vegetable is well grown in the soil after pumpkin and cabbage varieties. In addition, it can be planted next to other vegetables, for example, with carrots and salad.
Leek: Cultivation from sowing to harvesting (video)
Leek Varieties and Harvesting
Varieties of leek can be divided into early, medium-early and late varieties. Depending on the needs of gardeners choose the most suitable option for them. They differ in the length and thickness of the stem.
Early varieties are characterized by strong growth, they have a long stem and they have a bright green color. Medium-early varieties are distinguished by a thick and long stem and dark, blue-green leaves. Later varieties grow more slowly, they have a shorter stem, have a dark green color with a blue patina. They are resistant to low temperatures, can overwinter in soil.
Depending on the variety and time of planting, harvesting may vary in time. The main harvest occurs in the summer-autumn period (August - November). Some varieties can winter in open ground, but do not forget that the grown onions need to dig up before spring, so this is the deadline for harvesting.
For digging vegetables it is best to use forks, as the roots of the plant are easily damaged.
And how to store leek? The best way to preserve and extend the shelf life of a given vegetable is to bury it in the ground. Leek is set vertically and covered with earth so that the edible parts of the vegetable are closed. Then the pit should be covered with straw or other material that will protect the vegetable from freezing. Another way of protection for the winter period is to fall asleep by its ground in the basement.
Sow leek (video)
Gallery: leek (15 photos)