Growing Leeks in Hot, Dry Summers: Strategies for Success this Year
Leeks are a great vegetable to grow in hot, dry summers. They can be planted in mid-summer and still yield good sized leeks come fall, however the conditions of the summer will affect the size of the leek. This year, many gardeners experienced their leeks bolting due to the relentless heat and lack of rain.
American Flag leeks have been successful for some gardeners this year despite the hot and dry conditions. These were seeded in March and transplanted in mid June, yielding smaller than store bought leeks but with much better flavor. Another variety that may work is the Wild Garden Seed assortment from Frank Morton. Mammoth leeks planted early spring did not bolt until October and formed pearls (baby leeks coming in a clump around them).
Many gardeners have had success with Lancelot plants from Dixondale, re-sold at local nurseries. However, this year shipment was delayed and the purchased bunch of plants were smaller than the year prior. To hedge against another hot summer, it is best to start seeds in addition to buying bare root plants.
Eating the scapes of leeks has also been recommended as they are tasty too! There are a few interesting varieties out there such as Tormato which Fred offered on his website in 2016. It is important to feed your leeks well if you want larger ones; otherwise they may stay small even when grown in ideal conditions.
Overall, while growing leeks in hot and dry summers can be challenging, there are certain varieties that have proven successful for gardeners this year. Starting seeds in addition to purchasing bare root plants is a great way to ensure success and having back up plans like storing seed packs can help too!Eating the scapes of leeks is also a great way to enjoy them, and there are some interesting varieties out there that can be tried.
What are the best leek varieties for hot/dry conditions?
American Flag leeks and the leek assortment from Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed are both good choices for hot/dry conditions.
Is it possible to plant mid summer and still get good sized leeks in fall?
Yes, it is possible to plant mid summer and still get good sized leeks in fall. However, the leeks may be smaller than those planted earlier in the season.
What variety of leek did Lisa purchase from a local nursery?
Lisa purchased Lancelot plants from Dixondale from a local nursery.
What variety of leek did Lisa grow this year?
Lisa grew American Flag leeks this year.
How many of Lisa's leeks bolted mid summer?
Several of Lisa's leeks bolted mid summer.
How many of the Mammoth leeks bolted by October?
Only a handful of the Mammoth leeks bolted by October (less than 5%).
Did Lisa try eating the scapes of the leeks?
No, Lisa did not try eating the scapes of the leeks.
What seed offer did Tormato have from Fred's website in 2016?
Tormato had a leek seed offer from Fred's website in 2016.
What pack of leek seeds did Lisa buy last year?
Lisa bought a pack of leek seeds last year, but she has yet to start them.