Grow, harvest and store the leek


Leek is a delicious vegetable that you can grow yourself. We reveal how to do it and give tips on what to consider after the harvest.

© Brent Hofacker - Fotolia.com Who doesn't know these elongated bulbs. The leek sticks are a popular and healthy vegetable. The lower, lighter parts of the leek stalk in particular are often found in stews, casseroles or as a vegetable side dish. There are leeks in every supermarket, but they taste fresher from your own garden. Leek can be grown yourself without much effort, choose the right variety and can even be harvested in winter.


  • 1 origin of leek
  • 2 Ingredients and health benefits of leek
  • Grow 3 leeks - find a suitable location
  • 4 Grow leek - select substrate
  • 5 When can you grow leeks?
  • 6 popular leek varieties for summer and winter cultivation
  • 7 Prefer leek - how it works
    • 7.1 How advance works - step by step
  • Planting 8 leeks - step by step
  • 9 How should leek be cared for?
  • 10 How do you pour leek?
  • 11 How is leek fertilized?
  • 12 Leek - Attention diseases!
  • 13 leek - when to harvest?
  • Store and prepare 14 leeks

Origin of leek

Exactly where the original leek is to be found cannot be said with certainty. If you believe that leeks come from the Mediterranean and the Near East. The lily family has long been widespread across Europe. This can probably be explained by the fact that leeks make hardly any demands and can actually be used effortlessly in any home garden. The main areas of leek cultivation today include Spain, the Netherlands, France, Turkey and Egypt.

Ingredients and health benefits of leek

The following ingredients are contained in 100 grams of fresh leek:

  • 3.2 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2.3 grams of fiber
  • 2.2 grams of protein
  • 0.3 grams of fat

Leeks also contain essential oils, valuable minerals and vitamins B1, B2, C and E. The health value of leeks is based not least on the minerals phosphorus, calcium and potassium. The vitamins contained strengthen the immune system and ensure an intact metabolism. Allylene oil can counteract infections and promote healing. Leek also promotes appetite, improves digestion and has an expectorant effect on diseases of the upper respiratory tract.

Grow leek - find a suitable location

The cultivation begins with the choice of the right location. You should also know that leeks are less compatible with other onion plants and do not want to be grown together with beetroot. Mixed cultures with cucumbers, carrots or lettuce are possible. Choose a sunny and slightly protected location. Protection against bald frost is particularly important when growing winter varieties. Otherwise, the leek has no great location requirements and actually thrives in every garden.

Grow leek - select substrate

When choosing the soil, the plant is more picky. As a heavy feeder, leek needs many nutrients. The floor should also be loose, fresh and deep.

➔ Note: Leeks have a particularly high nitrogen requirement.

First dig around the ground over a large area. Remove not only weeds, roots and stones, but also larger clods of earth. If the soil is loosened, it is upgraded with compost or manure. You can also mix the substrate with nettle manure or grass clippings.

➔ Note: The soil preparation described should, if possible, be carried out at least eight weeks before the actual planting.

When can you grow leeks?

There are several options here. It depends on when you want to harvest your leek.Leek variety
summer leek
autumn leek
winter leeksPlanting time
Early to mid-April
Late May to mid June
July to August

Popular leek varieties for summer and winter cultivation

When buying, you should make sure that the type of leek fits your desired harvest time. The varieties Bavaria or Carentan 3 are suitable for cultivation in summer and autumn. If you want to harvest in winter, you should choose the hardy varieties of bluish-green winter Alaska, Pluston or D'hiver de Saint-Victor.

Prefer leek - how it works

Of course you can get leek seeds and then sow them directly into the bed. However, it is much better to prefer the leek. Early plants are more vigorous and you also save yourself the need to separate the young plants after sowing. Early plants are grown individually in separate plant pots and then placed directly in the bed.

1 Leek, leek - autumn giant - 200 seeds No reviews at the moment1,95 €To the shop
2 Leek leek giant - spring onion - onion - 500 seeds 3 reviews1,60 €To the shop
3 Leek, elephant 1 reviews2,97 €To the shop

How it works - step by step

  1. Provide growing pots
  2. Select substrate
  3. Place seeds in planters
  4. Cover seeds slightly with soil
  5. Water the seeds well
  6. Place the planter in a bright place
  7. Wait for germination

Small plant pots with a size of just a few centimeters are sufficient for growing. For example, yogurt cups or small commercial planters made of organic material are very suitable. Growing soil is suitable as a substrate. You can also mix conventional garden soil with sand or peat. The seeds are pressed about one centimeter deep into the ground and lightly covered with substrate. Place the plant pots in a bright window seat at room temperature and water the seeds regularly. The first shoots appear after about two weeks.

➔ Tip: For leek intended for summer cultivation must be brought forward in March. The cultivation for the winter leek begins around May.

Planting leeks - step by step

There are two different methods of planting leeks. The gardener differentiates between growing in planting holes and growing in trenches.

Leek cultivation in the planting hole

  1. Prepare the bed
  2. Loosen the substrate
  3. Press holes in the floor
  4. Use plants
  5. Water plants liberally

First prepare a bed for cultivation. To do this, loosen the floor and then level it so that a smooth surface is created. Now pick up a planting wood and press holes into the ground about ten centimeters deep. The young plants are transplanted directly from the nursery pots. The substrate can be left on the plant. If you have put the plants in the bed, you can water them abundantly.

Leek cultivation in the ditch

  1. Loosen the earth
  2. Digging
  3. Use plants
  4. Water the trench
  5. Rake in substrate regularly

First, the earth is loosened up well. Then use a rake to dig trenches about ten to twenty cm deep. You can leave the substrate between the rows of plants. Now put the plants in the trenches. The green leaf sections should remain clearly visible. After planting, water is sufficient.

➔ Tip: If substrate is regularly raked into the furrows during the growth phase, the poles remain bright.

How should leek be cared for?

The declared aim of your leek breeding will be to leave the stem largely in a white color. However, only the parts that are covered with earth remain white, because no photosynthesis can take place under the ground. So don't forget to regularly pile the leek. Again and again pull the soil towards the rows of plants so that dams are formed.

How do you pour leek?

Leek is watered regularly and abundantly. The substrate must not dry out. The plants also do not tolerate waterlogging. If the top layer of soil has dried slightly, it should be watered again. In a sunny location, this may also be necessary several times a day on hot summer days.

How is leek fertilized?

Since leeks require a lot of nutrients, fertilization should not be neglected. The substrate is already enriched with compost during planting. The leek is thus supplied with organic fertilizer. Around a month after planting, the leek needs another boost of nutrients. Use liquid vegetable fertilizer and pay attention to a high nitrogen content. Feed leek plants four weeks apart until harvest.

Leek - Attention diseases!

From time to time, leeks can also be infected by diseases and pests. You can prevent this with appropriate care. Growing the plants also has an advantageous effect and creates strong and vigorous plants that are less susceptible to diseases.
The following pests and diseases can occur:

  • leek moth
  • Lauchminierfliege
  • leek rust

Recognize and fight the leek moth

The brown moths lay their eggs between April and May and between July and September. The feeding channels of the predators are clearly visible. Bacteria quickly nest there. Their spread can lead to the death of the plant within a short time. You can protect your leek from infestation with cultural protection nets. Planting carrots together with leek can also keep the pests away.

Recognize and fight the leek miner fly

The leek miner fly occurs in the months of April and May and August to October. The flies prick the leaves and feed on the sap they suck out. The resulting damage pattern is manageable. However, there is also egg laying on the leaves. The larvae create feeding channels, which in turn bacteria form an entry point for bacteria. Affected areas begin to rot. Infestation is often only visible when the leek is cleaned. Conventional cultural protection nets are no obstacle for the very small insects. Tighter networks should be used. Fleece is also a protection against the little flies.

Detect and combat leek rust

Leek rust can be recognized by reddish-yellow pustules that appear on the outer leaves. The disease usually spreads when the plants are exposed to excessive humidity or have been over-fertilized with nitrogen. It is sufficient to remove the infected leaves. The vegetables can then continue to be consumed.

➔ Tip: If you remove parts of leeks infected with diseases or pests, they should not be disposed of on the compost. Onion beds should no longer be grown on the appropriate beds for at least the following three years.

Leek - when to harvest?

You can harvest leek if the sticks are about three centimeters in diameter. First the earth is loosened. You can do this with a spade or a digging fork. If the soil is loosened sufficiently, it will not be difficult for you to pull the leek out of the earth.

➔ Tip: If you loosen the soil first and harvest the leek about three hours later, the nitrate content of the leek will drop.

If the vegetables are not too deep and you do not want to order the bed again, the leek can also be cut close to the ground. With a little luck, the plant will sprout again and you can harvest more small leek stalks. The winter harvest can be done on frost-free days. Allow the leek to defrost before you touch it so that the leek is not damaged.

Store and prepare the leek

If you have harvested your leek in summer, you can look forward to a tender and particularly fine vegetable. Leeks, which are harvested in winter, are more robust and last longer. High quality leek is characterized by a particularly long, thick shaft and a high proportion of white in the closed bar.

After harvesting, you should consume the vegetables quickly because leeks can only be stored for a limited time. Leeks last about five days in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

➔ Tip: Do not store leeks in the immediate vicinity of apples, pears, strawberries or milk products. These are sensitive to aromas and could take on the leek taste.

If you have cut a leek stick and do not want to use it up immediately, the stick will last for about two days if it is wrapped in damp newspaper and placed in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

Before processing leek, you should wash it thoroughly. The hard leaves above the white stem are not suitable for further processing. Leek is suitable for cooking and steaming. The vegetables are also often blanched. You can process your home-grown leek into stews or make gratins or quiche from them. In combination with potatoes, zucchini, fennel or celery, varied dishes can be created. Leeks are also very popular for wok dishes from Asian cuisine.

➔ Tip: If you steam leek a little longer, it will be sweeter and more digestible.