Leeks: They’re Not Just Vegetables

Submitted a year ago
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Henry Homeyer

Friday in the Garden

Yesterday I visited my friend Alicia Jenks of Green Dragon Farm in Weathersfield, Vermont (an organic pick-your-own blueberry operation) and was reminded of a trick I knew, but had forgotten. Leeks provide splendid blossoms in the second year of their life, if you let them winter over in the ground.

Leeks blooming at Green Dragon Farm

Like beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, onion, parsley, parsnip, rutabaga, salsify, and turnips, leeks bloom and produce seeds in their second year. But unlike those others, the flowers of leeks are big and dramatic.

Alliums at Kew Gardens, London, in May

Leeks are in the allium family, and you may have a few allium in your flower garden. I was amazed to see the size and diversity of alliums in England at Kew Gardens when I was there in May.

Alliums at Kew Gardens, London, in May

If you grow leeks, consider sacrificing a few. Instead of pulling them for soup, leave them in the ground for flowers next year. And one great thing about  all varieties of allium: neither deer nor rodents will bother them. 

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