Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Leeks

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S P P P            

(Best months for growing Leeks in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 4 - 8 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-18 weeks. Loosen with a fork rather than pull by hand..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots
  • Almost ready to use
    Almost ready to use
  • Leek

A member of the onion family. Looks rather like a large scallion or spring onion Grow in seed trays or punnets until about 20cm (8in) tall. They look rather like large blades of grass at that stage. Then plant out into trenches or individual deep holes. The aim is to blanch the stems while the plants are growing. Trenches should be about 20-25cm (8-10in) deep. Set the seedlings 10-15 cm (4 - 6in) apart then add enough soil to just cover the roots. As the plants grow fill the trench. Otherwise - make holes with a dibble or suitable stick 15 cm (6 in) deep and 3-4 cm (1.5 - 2 in) wide. Drop a seedling in each and water enough to cover the roots with soil. As they grow, watering will gradually fill the hole.

Leeks prefer moist clay soils. Keep soil moist and loose, mulch will help.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Leeks

Trim off the roots and any damaged leaves.
Young ones can be used whole with some of the green leaves
Wash thoroughly as the earth tends to get inside.
Chop and fry in butter (or olive oil) until tender.
Can be added to casserole meals, allowing time to cook through.
Leek and mushroom make a tasty combination for a tart filling.

Your comments and tips

17 Nov 17, Norma (Australia - temperate climate)
I am just starting to harvest my leeks and I notice there are little baby leek shoots at the base of the leek. Will these grow into proper leeks? I have been putting the whole base of the old leek back into the ground and the tiny shoot grows very quickly but I am not sure if it will be a proper new leek.
20 Nov 17, Mike (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I know nothing about growing leeks. If you can keep some roots with the little shoots then they should grow. It is now plant time for leeks. Or put the little shoots in water and see if they start producing roots and then plant out. The old plant should grow. Google it - growing from old plants - leeks carrots etc. .
28 Oct 17, Jason (Australia - temperate climate)
G,day gardeners, I was given a bunch of small leeks about 6 months ago which was mid winter here in South Australia. I didn't know anything about leeks so I just separated them and planted in a small ditch. They are now 2 to 3 feet tall and have shot a tall stem up with a bulb on the top of it. I have tried to find out when to harvest them but can't find any clear instructions on this. My question is, does the appearance of this bulb mean they are turning to seed ? Do I need to pull them now or can I leave them growing ? Any info would be appreciated, thank you.
30 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
"When leeks have gone to seed, they become tough and inedible. Below you will find some tips on stopping the leek flowering or bolting. Why a Leek Plant Flowers and Bolts. When many plants bolt or go to seed, like broccoli or basil, it is due to warm temperatures. With leeks, it’s different. When leeks go to seed, it is normally due to being exposed to optimal temperatures followed by cold temperatures. In other words, a leek flowering is due to cold weather, not warm weather. When a leek flowers, it causes the neck or lower stem of the leek to become woody and tough and the leek will become bitter. While you can technically still eat leeks are gone to seed, you probably won’t like the flavor". Leeks take about 100-120 days to grow - so if you planted in mid winter (July 14th) it is now 3 1/2 mths - 100+ days - suggestion, pull them out if they look nice and tender - if looking woody, you have left it too late.
08 Jun 17, Shane Cave (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live on a sand dune but with raised vegetable beds with added topsoil and lots of home made compost - made from kitchen and varied garden waste - but my leeks wont thicken. How can I get better leeks?
09 Jun 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Leeks prefer a moist clay type soil. I suggest you keep building your soil up with heavier soil, if you can get it, and plant your leeks closer together, making the most of smaller leeks in the meantime. Maybe leaving them in the ground a bit longer will help them to thicken.
15 Mar 17, Nicki (Australia - temperate climate)
Can leeks be grown together with lettuce and spinach?
15 Mar 17, Jonno (Australia - temperate climate)
I don't know of any reason why not. It really amounts to the quality of the soil but 'stacking' plants is a good way to increase yield in a given space. The lettuce and spinach would be long harvested by the time the leeks are ready. You could also plant radishes as they only take about 4 weeks to harvest. I probably wouldn't plant other members of the onion fmily like this as they are susceptible to fungal problems and need an open spot with good air circulation.
11 Mar 17, Lorraine (Australia - tropical climate)
When do I plant leeks in WA climate
12 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Leeks prefer temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees C. The WA Dept. Of Agriculture says they ca be grown all year round in Perth. Seeds take 2-4 months to be ready for transplanting and will take about 5-7months before they are ready for harvest. Leeks are often planted in trenches which are backfilled as they grow to produce long white shanks. They are delectable and are worth the wait if you have the available. All the best.
Showing 1 - 10 of 96 comments

It means to exclude light from the stem. That is what creates the white, tightly packed section of the leek, which is the bit we like to cook with. There are two main ways to achieve this: 1. As the plant grows, pack soil around the stem; or 2. Plant seeds or seedlings in a trench (about 10cm deep) and as the plant grows fill in the trench. Hope this helps.

- Andrew

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Buy the app for iPhone/iPod, iPad or Android and support Gardenate

Planting reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.