Leek – Hannibal
Hannibal is a very strong growing leek with a great root system making it ideal for organic production. It’s also very delicious. You can harvest it from September until late November
February to March
Sow 2 seeds per cell in modular trays and plant out 8-10 weeks after sowing without splitting up the seedlings.
Between rows: 45cm
Between plants in the row: 30cm (2 plants per station)
Approx. seed count: 100
Latin name: Allium porrum, or ampeloprasum
Family: Alliaceae (commonly known as Alliums)
Leeks are one of the most popular winter vegetables and are perfectly suited to any outdoor conditions. In fact for most of the year leeks perform a lot better outside than under protection.
So this section is only for the die-hard leek lovers that can’t do without them in May and June.
Legend and lore
The Emperor Nero is reported to have been nicknamed Porrophagus because of his inordinate appetite for leeks. He imagined that frequent eating of leeks improved his singing voice!
Soil and site
Leeks require a very fertile soil which should be enriched with plenty of farmyard manure or compost. The ideal pH range is between 6.5 – 7.5.
For tunnel or greenhouse use I would only use an early variety. The seeds can be sown in modular trays in late January. I generally sow two seeds per cell.
Leeks can be planted approximately 6 to 8 weeks after sowing in modular. The modules can be planted when the roots hold the compost together in the cells. The cells should not be split up and the two seedlings should be planted together.
Between plants: 30cm if two plants are planted together
Between rows: 35cm
As the plants grow, earth up the leeks with soil to blanch the stems. This simply means the covered part of the leek turns white. Be careful that you don’t get soil into the heart of the leek.
The first early leeks from the tunnel or greenhouse will be ready from May onwards. Trim off the roots at the base without cutting into the shank and trim the leaves so that they are the same length as the stem. Be careful not to scatter the soil into neighbouring leeks.
Leeks are relatively trouble free especially these quick growing early ones. Once ready though you have to harvest them otherwise they will bolt.
How much to grow?
You will get 18 leeks per square metre
There is a trend or fashion in all things small. Many restaurants demand baby leeks. Baby leeks can easily be produced by decreasing the spacing to about 10cm each way. That means you could get 100 baby leeks per square metre.