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A. ampeloprasum 'porrum'
Habit: herbaceous
Height: 12" - 24"
Origin:  ?
Exposure:  ?
Water:  ?
USDA Zones:  ?
Sunset Zones:
[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > Magnoliophyta > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > Liliopsida > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > Asparagales > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Alliaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > Allium {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} A. ampeloprasum var. porrum var. {{{cultivar}}}

The leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.)) is a vegetable belonging, along with the onion and garlic, to the Alliaceae family. Also in this species are two very different vegetables: the elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum), grown for its bulbs, and kurrat, which is grown in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East for its leaves. The leek is also sometimes classified as Allium porrum (L.).

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Leek (Allium Porrum), a flat-leaved, bulbous, hardy biennial, is probably a native of the Mediterranean region, where, particularly in Egypt, it has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since prehistoric time.

Leek, though of the onion family, is differently treated and used. The object in its cultivation is to develop the leaves in such a manner that they become numerous; the flower-stem does not appear before the second year, hence the necessity of growing it to full size the first year. Sow the seed in March in a seed-bed (with slight bottom heat), in drills 2 or 3 inches apart; when large enough, thin out to stand 1 inch apart in the row, as they may attain the thickness of a fair- sized straw. In May or early June the seedlings are transplanted in the open ground; they are then cut half - way down and should also be set deep, so they will begin blanching when they attain a fair size. The soil best suited is a rich, moist, light loam; prior to the transplanting it should be well prepared with well- rotted stable manure, if possible. The plants are generally set in drills 12 to 15 inches apart, and 6 to 9 inches apart in the drills. Shortening both roots and stems is often advised. As the plants grow, the soil should be drawn loosely around the stems and lower leaves to insure blanching. They should be well cultivated, and when growing freely should be earthed up slightly with the hand-cultivator or hand-hoe. Some of the successful gardeners still cultivate them on the celery-trenching system; by this means they can be watered more thoroughly and will attain a much larger size; also can be conveniently left in the trench with slight protection, and taken therefrom for winter use. Care must be taken not to cover too early, as they decay easily, beginning at the end of the foliage; this destroys the appearance. The hardier kinds used for this purpose will blanch yellow down to the so-called stem, which is white to the root. Leeks planted out in May are ready for use in September; the sowings can be made earlier and later to suit the time of maturing, and can be sown in August and September in coldframes and wintered over with slight protection, then transplanted to the open ground in April. The varieties best known to American gardeners are London Flag, Large Musselburgh or Scotch Flag, Giant Carentan, and Large Rouen.

When blanched leeks are not desired, the plants may be cultivated like onions; indeed, except for earthing up, the cultural methods employed for these two crops are identical. Leeks are marketed in bunches like young onions and, for winter use, are stored like celery. As a second crop to follow early cabbage, spinach, and the like, they are in general favor with market-gardeners. In soups and stews the rank odor disappears, leaving a mild and agreeable flavor.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Allium porrum, Linn. Leek. Stout plant, 2 ft. or more: lvs. very broad and strongly conduplicate or keeled: scape arising the second season; fls. white or blush: bulb simple and scarcely more than an enlargement of the stalk. Eu.CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Rather than forming a tight bulb like the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths which are generally blanched by pushing soil around them (trenching). They are often sold as small seedlings in flats which are started off early in greenhouses, to be planted out as weather permits. Once established in the garden, leeks are hardy; many varieties can be left in the ground during the winter to be harvested as needed.


Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the field for an extended harvest. Leeks usually reach maturity in the autumn months, and they have few pest or disease problems. Leeks can be bunched and harvested early when they are about the size of a finger or pencil, or they can be thinned and allowed to grow to a much larger mature size. Hilling leeks can produce better specimens.


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Leek cultivars can be subdivided in several ways, but the most common types are "summer leeks", intended for harvest in the season when planted, and overwintering leeks, meant to be harvested in the spring of the year following planting. Summer leek types are generally smaller than overwintering types; overwintering types are generally more strongly flavored.



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