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When to plant: Because of the long growing season, starting with seedlings is preferable. If you do want to grow leeks from seed, start about six weeks earlier than you want to set them out. They are truly fall vegetables when it comes to planting date. You can set them out in spring on the first frost date in areas where summers are mild. Otherwise set them out in the fall so they will be mature in spring.
Days to maturity: 90 to more than 200
Light requirement: Full sun, though needs some shade in very hot summers
Water requirement: Regular watering
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Planting and care: Transplant seedlings into regular, rich soil about 5 inches deep and at least 2 feet apart (4 feet apart is probably better). Keep the soil consistently moist and fertilize it every few weeks. Pests are relatively rare, though you may have problems with thrips.
As the plants grow, mound soil around the bottoms to blanch the stalks. Keep the soil just below the leaf joints so it doesn’t find its way into the shanks.
Harvest: When the stems reach 1/2 inch to 2 inches thick, gently work them out of the soil. You’ll probably need a spading fork, as they run deep. In mild-winter climates, you can set out successive plantings to continue harvesting through winter. In cold-winter climates, you’ll want to finish harvesting before the ground freezes.
More: How to Grow Vegetables in Fall and Spring