American Flag Leek

Europeans have savored the delicious flavor of leeks for centuries. Gaining popularity with gourmets and cooks in the U.S., this onion relative has compact stems that thicken but do not form bulbs like onions. The appealing white stems have a creamy yellow heart. Leeks are cold tolerant and can be left in the garden into fall for an extended harvest.

When to sow outside: 2 to 4 weeks before average last frost for late summer harvest, late spring for fall harvest, and in mild winter climates late summer for the following spring harvest.

When to start inside: RECOMMENDED. 8 to 10 weeks before average last frost.

Harvesting: Harvest leeks when tops are 8" - 12" tall, shanks are about 1" in diameter, and the base is not yet bulbous. Use a garden fork to gently loosen soil, then pull them up by hand. Leeks tolerate cold temperatures as low as 25° F, and can be harvested even after a few light frosts.

Artist: Jackie McFarland