The leek is a biennial onion relative that is grown as an annual for its long, thick stem, which is used for mildly flavoring salads, soups, and other cooked dishes.
• This information can be found in The Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Book by Walter Reeves and Felder Rushing
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It does not form a distinct bulb; instead, its thick, leafy base and slightly developed bulb grows into a 2-3 foot tall, attractive plant with a silvery base and blue-green top that resembles garlic with flattened leaves arranged in a fan shape. The fleshy stem can be eaten raw or cooked, with or without attached leaves, which have a pungent odor and acrid taste.
Grow leeks, which can take up to five months to mature, like long-season onions. Upper South gardeners can plant leeks in the spring for summer and fall harvest, but lower south gardeners usually plant in the fall; the flavor of this winter-hardy plant actually improves with cold temperatures. When plants develop considerable top growth, mound soil up on the lower stems to blanch them white. Harvest in the spring when the diameter of the necks is 1-2 inches in diameter. Offsets may be detached and replanted, or small bulbils that appear in the flower stalks can be planted for a later harvest.
Varieties include ‘Alaska’, the old standby ‘Broad London’, and the heat-resistant ‘Titan’. Others that tolerate our mild winters well include ‘Electra’ and ‘King Richard’.