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Allium porrum, Leek - Bulgarian

£0.95

Tall and high yielding summer/early autumn variety. Also useful for mini leek production.

This species has the same medicinal virtues as garlic, but in a much milder and less effective form.

For an early crop, or for larger plants, sow the seed in early spring in a greenhouse and plant out in May. For smaller or later plants, sow April in an outdoor seedbed and plant out as space permits in July or even August.

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil but succeeds in most soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers an open situation. Does best in a soil that was well fed for a previous crop.

Young plants are often planted quite deeply in the soil (8 - 10cm deep) in order to blanch the lower stem, it is also a common practice to earth up the growing plants in order to blanch right the way up the stems. Whilst this does make the stems more tender, it also results in a loss of minerals and vitamins. Although commonly treated as a biennial, this plant is a true perennial, perennating by means of small lateral growths and often developing a roundish bulb at the base of the main growth.

A relatively slow-growing plant, it can be interplanted with faster maturing species such as lettuces.

Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, celery, celariac, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other.

Edible uses

The leaves and long white blanched stem are eaten cooked. They can also be cut into thin slices and be added to salads. A mild onion flavour with a delightful sweetness.

Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulb is produced in the plants second year of growth (that is, after it is normally harvested). The bulb is somewhat larger if the plant is prevented from flowering.

Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads, though they are rather on the dry side and less pleasant than many other members of the genus.

http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Allium_porrum

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