If you enjoy the mild, onion-like flavor of 韭菜, this member of the 葱属植物 family isn’t as difficult to cultivate as you might think. You can even regrow 韭菜 from table scraps. Plus, if you grow perennial leek plants, you’ll never have to replant the “gourmet’s onion” again.
Growing and Propagating 韭菜
韭菜 are a cool-weather, long-season crop. They grow best when the ambient temperature is from 55 to 75 degrees F. (13-24 C.), but many varieties can withstand below freezing temperatures. Depending upon variety, 韭菜 can take up to 180 days to reach maturity.
Growing 韭菜 from seed is the most common method of propagation. 在温暖的气候, 韭菜 can be direct-seeded outdoors during the summer and 收获ed as a winter crop. In northern gardens, start 韭菜 indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date.
When growing 韭菜 from seed indoors, sow seeds evenly in open flats or place two seeds per cell in divided packs. Cover leek seeds with 1/4 inch (6 mm.) of fine soil and water well. Place planters in a warm, sunny location or under 生长灯. Gardners can expect seeds to germinate in 5 to 14 days.
Transplant leek seedlings outdoors three to four weeks before the last frost. After acclimating the seedlings to the outdoors, space plants 6 inches (15 cm.分开) in 6 inch (15 cm.)深孔. Water well, but don’t backfill the holes. This encourages the stems to swell and helps blanch the 韭菜.
Growing 韭菜 from Scraps
Seeds are not the only method for propagating 韭菜. Gardeners can regrow 韭菜 by cutting them rather than pulling the entire plant from the ground. Keep the roots watered and the cut leek will send up new growth. Both garden and store-bought 韭菜 can also be regrown in a glass of water.
When growing 韭菜 from scraps, be sure the roots are intact. Cut the stalk about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) above the root line. Place the root in a shallow dish of water so the top of the stem remains above the water line.
Place the glass in a sunny window and change the water every few days. New growth usually appears in about a week. You can replant the 韭菜 in soil at this time or wait until they are a little further along.
Perennial Leek Plants
韭菜 are often considered a 两年一次 as they bloom and produce seed in their second year. However, 韭菜 are technically perennials. Winter-hardy varieties of 韭菜 can return year after year. Follow these steps to create a patch of perennial leek plants in your garden:
第一步: Choose a sunny location with good drainage. The garden spot should be one which you don’t plan to till in future years.
第二步: Plant leek seedlings as directed above, but space perennial leek plants 12 to 18 inches (31-46 cm.分开).
第三步: Don’t 收获 these 韭菜 the first year. (If desired, plant additional 韭菜 for fall 收获.)
步骤四: The following year, the 韭菜 will bloom. They will then divide and begin forming clumps. 第二个秋天, 收获 a few stalks from each clump.
第五步: As the clumps expand in subsequent years, you will be able to 收获 more and more stalks. Be sure to always leave some stalks to maintain the clumps.