These are winter leeks. They’re also spring, summer, fall and last winter’s leeks.
I planted the seeds for these leeks inside, in our basement, on January 30, 2011. It’s now January 2012 and we still have leeks out in the garden, happily hibernating under a layer of snow until we pull them up for dinner.
The leeks took a really long time to grow in our cold basement (I need to provide additional heat next time), so when I finally gave up on them getting any bigger and set them outside, they were tiny. Teeny tiny little specks of green that got lost in the garden. But a year later, they are massive, nicely formed leeks.
Leeks take up space in the garden for a long time (obviously), which is kind of annoying, but I appreciate their usefulness for providing a fresh vegetable in the middle of the winter. I’ll be growing these again this year.
By the way, I discovered how to keep most of the dirt from just-pulled leeks outside in the garden instead of in our kitchen. After you pull them up, peel off a layer or two like you would with an onion. The leafy green tops come off in layers all the way to the root, so if you start with the lowest green leaf and pull it off, all the dirt on the white part below will come off with it. One or two layers off and voila, you’ve got a (mostly) clean leek.