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Haven't grown beets or leeks in awhile. Planting?

February 21, 2019

Went to the local (lovely) nursery today while on a walk and brought home a 6-pak of beets and leeks.

I haven't grown either in several years and seem to remember that you can split each 6 pak up into several plants?

Also, do you dig a trench for leeks and fill as they grow, or am I thinking of something else?

Comments (21)

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    Why not make it easy and grow from seeds? Buy a pack of rainbow beet seeds and get beets of different colors.

    Also you can keep picking beet greens for cooking.


  • annie1992

    I always grow beets from seed, they take such a short time and are so easy to grow. I grow two or three types, and just plant some, a couple weeks later plant some more, then again and just like that, fresh beets all summer. I've never tried to transplant them from starts.

    I do plant leeks from plants because otherwise they never get big enough to use. I do make a row, then just use my finger to poke a hole about as deep as my second knuckle. Drop in a leek plant, fill in and I'm good to go. They do grow well here and are expensive at the grocery store.

    Good luck and happy gardening.


  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Since you already have the plants, growing from seed is for another day. You can, and should, split the packs into individual plants. The exception would be if you wanted baby beets and pencil leeks, in which case plant closer.

    For large, long leeks make a hole about 6ins deep with a dibber or narrow trowel. Drop in a leek plant and fill the hole with water to settle the plant. As the leeks grow earth them up. I imagine they'd be a winter crop for you, as they are for us here.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    If you want beet root, you MUST split up the plants. No roots will form if you grow them together. If you want greens, you could plant them all together and grow a beet bush. Never heard of beet starts.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    "Never heard of beet starts"

    Really?? They are the most common root crop to be available from starts. And starter plants of nearly any veggie types are very popular here. This is suburbia, not farmland, and most properties have very small veg gardens (if they have them at all) and it is so easy to purchase a 4- or 6-pak of starts to get a few plants going rather than to rely on just seeds, especially if you want a variety.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    In my nurseries, I never see any root crops available from starts. Well, we do get large bunches of onions, but that's about it. Availability may be a local thing, depending on growing climate, though.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Beets are really it for root crop starts here......never carrots, radishes or things like turnips or parsnips. Onions and other alliums, yes, but I don't really consider those root crops per se :-)

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)

    Nearly anything is available to buy as transplants in my area, beets and even radishes included. Not saying that is the best way to go about planting them but it is a thing.

    Depending on how close the beets are next to each other you may do more harm than good trying to separate them. If they are too close you should probably snip off the extras instead.

    I tend to think of leeks as leaf vegetables as opposed to root vegetables (same with onions). Since it is the leaves that make the stalk. They can use higher amounts of nitrogen than traditional root vegetables like beets and carrots (neither of which I actually fertilize). You can hill them with soil to get a longer portion of white stalk or mulch them really well as they grow.


  • nancyjane_gardener

    Thanks all. I already have the starts, so I'll get them planted and get some seed for later.

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    Wouldn't occur to me to even look for beets in cell packs. I know that I've never seen them for sale that way in any garden center. Perhaps a west coast thing?

    I don't try to grow beet roots in this Alabama clay but I sure do grow them for their greens. They might be my favorite leafy green.

  • nancyjane_gardener

    Just went by the local (3 blocks away) nursery and hubby picked out beets and leeks! wasn't looking for them!

  • joe graham Zone 9 Central Ca.

    Beets are easy . Leeks take more care. I Make a furrow and place drip tape in the bottom of it, Then I plant the leek seeding about every 6 inches. As they grow pull the soil up around the plant so when they are ready you will have a large blanched root . They make a great beef and leek pie!

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

    I started my leeks a couple weeks ago and beets two-3 per cell last weekend. You can sow the cell clusters together. They push each other aside and grow fine that way. Leeks really do need a head start here. Depending on the season I get decent size but often just a thumb. Still great on the grill.

    TallTop beets I direct sow for the greens closer together. Sow again a couple weeks later as well as direct seed other varieties. Also sow radish and beet between my early peas.

    This might help. Link, HERE

    My mom and pop local nursery has everything in starts. I don't purchase that much from them but if I have some issues or early crop failure I like to support them. Their leek starts always look much better than mine.

  • nancyjane_gardener

    Thanks for the link. Beets are something I haven't had luck with. I would kinda forget about them til they got too big and woody. Now that I have a much smaller garden I think I'll pay more attention!

  • yolos - 8a Ga. Brooks

    Here is another video showing how you can grow multiple beets together without dividing the transplants into single plants.


  • nancyjwb

    Yolos- I thought of charlesdowding as well. I‘m thinking of trying that method with direct sowing, 3-4 seeds per hole spaced out instead of sowing thickly in rows and then thinning.

  • nancyjwb

    nancyjane- I am going to try leeks this year as well. I intend to sow them in a small pot and let them get 4-5“ tall and then transplant into the garden early summer maybe, by the method floral describes. I hope they will get some size on them before fall and I can harvest as needed, leaving them out til hard freeze time.

    Can anyone say how they tolerate hot weather? Will they size up over a hot summer?

    (I am nancy jane as well:))

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    I started leeks from seed a few weeks ago and I'm looking forward to transplanting. I tried last year but got a late start and didn't fertilize adequately, so they were pretty sad. Hopefully I'll get it right this year!

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

    Thank you for that link...Charles Dowding. Have not followed gardening videos much the past couple years. His 2018 videos are excellent...(the Mr. Rogers of gardening)

    Yes, most videos are fast paced and zip-edited and cut for those in a hurry but solid information is worth the slow pace. Describes my methods for insurance back-up planting much better than I have time for. Dense planting keeps the soil cool and moist and nearly weed-free once the heat hits. Succession planting and interplanting in a smaller garden or even larger spaces.

    The first ten minutes of this video is valuable, HERE

  • annie1992

    nancyjwb, here in Michigan we have short, hot, humid summers. It topped 90 several days last year, but I grow leeks every year. I put the starts in the garden the end of May and as I weed them, I pull the dirt up around the plants. They are very cold tolerant, so they are one of the last things I take out of the garden. I usually plant a 50 foot row and then slice and dehydrate them, plus can potato leek soup. They never bolt or go to seed and they are always at least an inch in diameter.

    They don't need any more or less care than anything else in the garden, so they get weeded and watered right along with everything else. My garden has grown to over an acre, so I don't "baby" anything very much, except heirloom tomatoes.

    Radishes are grown to mark the rows of slow growing plants like carrots, so I can see where the row is until the tiny plants get bigger. By the time the radishes are big enough to use, the row is well established.


  • shuffles_gw

    I used to work with a guy who told me his father in England used to grow prize winning leeks using special ceramic tubes to keep them white. I suppose sections of PVC pipe would work. I've never tried that method. Leeks grow very well here in W. Central Florida over the winter.

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