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Leeks are a low maintenance vegetable that is popular with many vegetable growers. Most often, this plant is grown for further use in the preparation of various dishes. It is also often grown for freezing and canning.
Before you start growing such a vegetable, you need to familiarize yourself with the main features of the leek and the nuances of its planting.
The benefits of leeks
Before planting leeks, you should study in more detail the beneficial properties of the plant, thanks to which it is so popular among vegetable growers.
To understand the properties and contraindications, you need to find out the composition of the plant. It contains a small amount of calories, thanks to which the vegetable is added to the diet during the diet. Bulbs also contain many nutrients and other nutrients that the human body needs. In addition, bulbs have a high content of vitamin B, K, C, A.
The top leaves of the plant contain a fibrous structure that promotes the proliferation and development of bacteria in the intestines that reduce bloating. Therefore, doctors recommend eating pearl onions for people with impaired digestive system performance. It is also eaten with high blood pressure. Thanks to the potassium in the plant, regular consumption of fresh bulbs normalizes blood pressure.
The vegetable has no serious contraindications. However, all the same, doctors do not advise people with serious diseases of the duodenum to eat it often.
The best varieties
Before planting, it is better to familiarize yourself with the main varieties of leeks, since each of them has its own characteristics.
The bulbs, which are early maturing types of vegetables, fully ripen by the end of summer. If we talk about the full cycle of fruit ripening, then it lasts 120-150 days. Among the early varieties of onions, several of the best varieties are distinguished:
- Vesta. The most fertile early ripe variety, which grows up to one and a half meters. Differs in excellent taste and shelf life.
- Columbus. It is considered the most juicy variety, which grows up to 60–70 cm. Columbus is often added to fresh vegetable salads, as it has a light aroma and delicate taste.
- Goliath. The lowest early maturing variety, the height of which does not exceed 40 cm.
Mid-season pearl onions ripen towards the end of autumn. Such varieties are planted less often than early maturing ones, since they have a lower yield. Popular mid-season bulbs include:
- Camus. A small variety with curved green leaves, the surface of which is covered with a layer of wax. Adult plants grow up to 15–20 cm.
- Casimir. The most popular mid-season onion with insect and disease resistance. When grown under optimal conditions, Casimir bushes grow up to 20-25 cm.
- Jolant. This variety is considered the most productive among the mid-season onions. Jolant is distinguished by narrow leaves and bushes about 35 cm high.
Landing terms and rules
Before growing leeks in the open field, you should familiarize yourself with the timing of planting this plant. It is recommended to engage in seedless plant cultivation in the first half of May. The end or mid-February goes well with the seedling method.
Before planting one or another variety of leeks, choose a suitable site and prepare it for planting. This vegetable grows well in an area with good lighting, away from tall bushes or trees that can shade the seedlings.
Before proceeding with planting in open ground, the land on the site is prepared. This is done not in spring, but in autumn before the onset of the first frost. First, the entire area is dug up with a shovel or pitchfork, and then 50 grams of urea with Nitrofoska is added to the soil. The next stage of preparation begins in the spring. In this case, each square meter of the garden is fed with 2-3 kg of humus mixed with compost.
Many do not know what to do if seedlings have died before planting in open ground. In this case, you will have to deal with sowing and growing leeks from seeds. To do this, all harvested leek seeds are planted in pre-prepared soil. On the site, 2-3 rows are made at a distance of 30-40 cm from each other. On each row, shallow holes are made in which onion heads are planted. When all the seed is planted, the rows are thoroughly watered with water at room temperature.
Leeks are often planted using a seedling method. To use this method, you will have to prepare the seed in advance. To do this, all seeds are treated with aloe juice or growth stimulants. It is also recommended to soak all seeds for 20-30 minutes in heated water with manganese for disinfection.
The prepared seed is sown not earlier than March 20, so that by the end of May the grown seedlings can be transplanted into open ground. Young seedlings are grown in small pots or cups 5–7 cm in size.
The grown seedlings are replanted when the seedlings grow up to 10 cm in height. Planting germinated seedlings is no different from planting seeds using a seedless method.
Leek care is mandatory, since the yield of the planted plant depends on it.
To figure out how to grow leeks, you need to familiarize yourself with the features of watering this vegetable. It is recommended to moisten the soil at least once a week. At the same time, 5–7 liters of liquid are consumed per square meter of the garden. In drought conditions, the number of watering increases to three times a week, since the land dries up faster in such weather. During the ripening period of the bulbs, watering is reduced.
When caring for leeks, the site must be fertilized. The first top dressing is applied to the ground even before planting, in the middle of autumn. During this period, mineral fertilizing with a small amount of organic matter is added to the ground. If, after planting, the growth of leaves is slow, re-feeding is carried out. In this case, mullein and urea mixed with 10 liters of water are added to the ground. Three liters of the mixture are consumed per square meter of onion plot.
When growing and caring for leeks, certain difficulties arise. Leek often grows poorly and you have to think about how to feed it to improve the growth of planted seedlings. To do this, organic fertilizers are added to the soil in the form of compost with rotted humus.
The second common problem is weeds. To get rid of them, you will have to figure out how to properly loosen and weed the ground. It is necessary to engage in hilling the soil regularly. Experienced vegetable growers do this 2-3 times a month so that the weeds do not have time to grow.
Not everyone knows how to store grown leeks in the country. There are three common methods of storing the harvested crop:
- Frozen. This method is popular among vegetable growers, as the defrosted vegetable does not lose its taste. To freeze the onions, it is enough to peel them, cut them into several pieces and place them in the freezer.
- In the cellar. The most suitable place for storing leeks is the cellar. This room will protect the bulbs from frost and rotting.
- In the apartment. In residential premises, onion heads are stored much less often, since the conditions in them are not always suitable for storing the crop. To keep the collected onions in the apartment, you need to monitor the air temperature.
It is no secret that onions are often used in cooking and therefore you should familiarize yourself with the main dishes that are prepared from it:
- Onion pancakes. For this popular dish, two large onions are finely grated and salted. Then juice is squeezed out of the grated onion heads. After that, everything is covered with flaxseeds with semolina. The result is a thick mixture that is fried in a pan. The pancakes are roasted very gently over low heat.
- Onions with bacon. To prepare this dish, the head is cut off from the leek, and the leaves are cut into strips 1 cm wide. Then take 100 grams of bacon, which is sprinkled with salt to taste. Then water is boiled in a small saucepan and onion heads are added to it, which are boiled for 5-10 minutes. After that, in a separate bowl, the grated apple is mixed with carrots, prunes and sour cream. The resulting mixture is added to a mold with bacon and onions, and then placed in the oven. The dish is baked for 20 minutes at a temperature of 120-140 degrees.
Almost every gardener is engaged in growing leeks. To grow this vegetable, you will have to familiarize yourself with the peculiarities of planting it in open ground and caring for the planted bushes.