Growing leeks near St. Petersburg
Leek (Allium porrum) - tasty and healthy
Leek now widespread on the globe. Until now, its wild forms are found on the northern coast of Africa, some islands of the Mediterranean Sea, in Spain, Italy, Greece and Syria, as well as in the Balkans, Western Asia and the Caucasus. In culture, leek has been known since ancient times.
Leeks use leaves and a false bulb - a leg for food. It does not have a pungent smell, its aroma is softer, and its taste is subtler than that of onion.
As a food and medicinal plant, it was cultivated in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The ancient Egyptians ate leeks as a side dish for meat or eaten raw with bread. He was so highly valued in Egypt that Pharaoh Cheops rewarded his especially distinguished close associates with bunches of leeks. Pliny the Elder mentions leek in his writings as a plant borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the ancient Egyptians.
The Romans loved this onion so much that the gardens where it grew were given a special name - "porrinae"It was used as a medicinal plant by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (6th-5th centuries BC). The Roman emperor Nero used its leaves for the treatment of vocal cords: on certain days he ate exclusively leek, seasoning it with olive oil. number of medicinal plants scientist and physician Avicenna, who lived in Central Asia.In his work "Canon of Medicine" (XI century), he reports on methods of treating warts, ulcers on the body, nosebleeds, asthma, bloody diarrhea, etc.
Currently, the leek culture is widespread in Western Europe, North Africa, Western Asia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, North and South America, and Australia. We grow it mainly in the south of the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In the North-West and in the Non-Chernozem zone of Russia, it is cultivated in small quantities on personal and summer cottages, as well as on farms.
Features of growth and development
You can use it for food at any stage of development. Leek is a biennial plant. In the first year, it forms a powerful false bulb, consisting of thickened leaf bases covered with 1-2 membranous scales, a bleached part, which is called a "leg". The size of the false bulb depends on the varietal characteristics, usually reaching a height of 10-20 cm and a diameter of 2-7 cm. In the center of the bulb, under 2-3 juicy closed scales, there are 2 (sometimes 3) buds, one of which is vegetative, the other is generative. The bases of the leaves pass into a false stem, formed by thin leaf sheaths, tightly enclosing each other and turning into a leaf. The false stem is light green and the bulb is white. The height of the false stem is a varietal trait and ranges from 8 to 80 cm.
The leaves of the leek are flat, semi-folding along the central vein, usually dark green, with a strong waxy bloom. The width and length of the leaves of leeks depend both on the variety and on the growing conditions of this culture and, as a rule, reach 3-10 cm in the widest part and 25-60 cm in length. The leaves depart from the false stem in a generally fan-like manner. The number of leaves ranges from 6 to 15.
The flower arrow is elongated, with a large number of conducting vessels, straight, without swelling, usually 1.2-1.6 m in height. The inflorescence is a simple spherical umbrella up to 10-25 cm in diameter, in which 600-800 flowers of lilac or white color are placed in three tiers. If the arrow is damaged or under other unfavorable conditions, for example, during drought, 3-8 silvery-white bulbs (pearl onions) are formed on the bottom. When planted, these bulbs produce plants characteristic of the first year of leek life.
Leeks are characterized by an increased tendency to vegetative propagation. The formation of air bulbs in the inflorescence can often be observed. They produce the same plants as when grown from seed. Moreover, the first two leaves, as in the case of growing from seeds, are tubular.
Requirements for growing conditions
Leek is a cold-resistant crop. Although the seedlings cannot stand frost, the rooted plants winter well under deep snow. When it is grown under conditions of high temperatures, the accumulation of green mass is delayed, and its intensive growth begins only at the onset of lower temperatures - in late summer - early autumn.
Fig. 1. Leek Carantan
Leek plants are photophilous, require long daylight hours for their development. It should be noted that they react very strongly to its length. In conditions of short daylight hours, it branches strongly and forms up to 26 branches, while on a long day - 1-5.
Leeks are picky about soil moisture. He needs as much moisture as cabbage. In certain periods of development, it tolerates excess moisture well.
Of all the edible types of leeks in existence, it is especially in need of fertile, well-cultivated, organic-rich soils. The application of manure directly under the leek improves its growth and significantly increases the yield and quality of the leg, but an excess of nitrogen reduces the safety of plants in the trench. The best soils for it are moist loamy and floodplain, sandy and heavy clayey are not suitable. This onion absolutely does not tolerate even very slightly acidic soils. Plants become puny, with tough leaves, bad taste.
Northern European: Karantansky (see Fig. 1), Sizokryl, Brabant, Elephant and others - more early ripening, with a short (8-15 cm) stem, a compact arrangement of dark green leaves with a strong waxy bloom, well preserved in the autumn-winter period buried in storage, and in winters with moderate frosts - in the ground. Of the newly zoned at the same time they are ready for cleaning: Asgeos, Bandit, Bastion, Ginka, Kazimir, Kamus, Merlin, Premier, Pandora, Tango; the earliest: Vesta, Goliath, Jolant, Kilima, Lancelot.
Southern varieties: Bulgarian (see Fig. 2) and others - later ones, have an elongated (up to 50-80 cm) stem, a rare arrangement of leaves, a light color and a weak waxy bloom.
Features of growing leeks.
Fig. 2. Bulgarian leek
All varieties of this onion are relatively late ripening. The earliest ones are ready for harvesting 90-100 days after germination, so it is grown only in seedlings. Seeds of leeks are sown for seedlings in mid-late March in sowing boxes or on beds in a greenhouse in grooves with a distance of 6-10 cm at the rate of 13-15 g of seeds per 1 m². Seedlings appear slowly, so it is better to sow with spiked seeds. The seedlings should be 50-60 days old. Leek seedlings are grown in the same way as onions.
Leeks are placed on fresh manure (6-10 kg / m²) or humus (4-5 kg / m²) is applied. You can grow it in the second year after applying organic fertilizers. It is good to place it after early vegetable ones, under which manure was applied. With a lack of organic fertilizers, humus or compost is introduced into the grooves made for planting seedlings. In addition to organic fertilizers, 1 m? make 20-30 g of ammonium nitrate, 30-40 g of superphosphate and 15-25 g of potassium chloride. Leek depletes the soil very much, but after harvesting it, it becomes loose.
In Northwest Russia, leeks are grown on ridges or ridges. Seedlings are planted in the second half of May, no later than June 5, preferably in cloudy weather or after rain. It is advisable to land in the afternoon. On the ridges, the rows are placed every 45 cm or with two-line ribbons (50 + 20): 2 cm. On the ridges it can be placed in four lines, with a distance between the rows of 25 cm, or with two two-line ribbons along the bed. Before planting, the leek seedlings are watered abundantly and the leaves are cut 1 / 2-1 / 3 of the length. You can also trim the roots slightly if they are very long.
Seedlings are planted 1-1.5 cm deeper than they were grown, after 8-12 cm in a row. On fertile, well-fertilized soils, seedlings can be placed thickened so that in July-August, due to thinning through one plant, early production can be obtained. The remaining leeks continue to grow until October 10-15.
Before planting, the grooves are thoroughly watered to a mushy state, the seedlings are laid out in them, slightly pressing the plants into them, and they are sealed at first with moist and then dry soil. It is necessary to ensure that the roots do not bend upwards when planting. Such plants will be inhibited and stunted. After planting, you can mulch the grooves with peat or humus with a layer of 1-1.5 cm. This will prevent the formation of a crust and dry out the soil.
No later than a week after planting the seedlings, it is necessary to loosen the row spacings that were compacted during planting. When growing leeks, it is necessary to systematically loosen the aisles, keep the soil in a sufficiently moist state, fight weeds and make 2-3 top dressing.
The first feeding can be done with organic fertilizers (mullein 1: 10 or slurry 1: 3). You can carry out all dressings only with mineral fertilizers (in g per 1 m².): Ammonium nitrate - 50, superphosphate - 100 and potassium chloride - 30 (divided by 2-3 times), or add 50-80 g of nitrophosphate. In the process of growing, you should spud the plants 2-3 times to obtain larger bleached legs. After hilling, their taste improves.
Leeks are harvested as needed - from August to September. Plants intended for fresh consumption are dug up, shaken off the soil and cut off. Leeks intended for long-term storage should be harvested carefully, without damaging the leaves during transportation. By the time of harvesting, the temperature in the storage should drop to + 3 ° C. Plants are added in rows every 10-12 cm, in a row they are placed close to each other at an angle of 50-60 °. Leeks are stored at a temperature of about 0 ° C and an air humidity of 80-85% until April. Leek yield in the open field of the Leningrad region is from 3-4 to 10 kg / m².
Read part 2: Leek is a valuable food and medicinal plant →
V. Perezhogina, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences
There are several ways to store leeks.
- In the basement, in a box or bucket filled with a 5-centimeter layer of wet sand, the stalks of leeks are placed vertically in rows, pouring a layer of sand between them 15-20 cm thick.The storage temperature should be in the range from +1 to -1 0 С , air humidity 80-85%.
- In the refrigerator in the vegetable storage section. The best plants are selected, cleaned, the roots are cut, leaving 1-2 cm, and the leaves are cut, removing the yellowed and dried parts, and cooled. Then quickly packed in perforated plastic bags. It can be stored in this form for up to 4 months.
Leeks keep well in freezers. It is cleaned of the upper leaves, cut off the roots, washed, cut into rings, placed in freezer bags and in the freezer.
A knot for memory. Frozen leeks do not lose their properties.
The stems and leaves are cut into any shape and dried in an oven or electric dryer. Store in hermetically sealed jars. Used when adding to soups, and for sauces, gravies and for breading, dried leaves are ground.
Outdoor Leek Care
Crop care involves the implementation of standard procedures familiar to every gardener, but with certain nuances.
The procedure is performed twice a month. After the stem of the plant reaches the diameter of a pencil, a little soil removed during planting is added to the grooves with each loosening. After the beds are aligned with the general relief of the site, you can proceed to the next procedure - hilling.
Hilling and mulching
It is necessary to huddle plants 4 times per growing season, which will allow achieving the main goal of growing leeks - getting a bleached stem.
After each hilling, the beds are mulched with straw or dry grass.
How to water properly?
Watering begins 4 days after the seedlings are planted in the open ground. The culture is moistened every 5 days with a consumption rate of 10-15 liters of water per 1 m2.
Fertilization and feeding
During growth, leeks are fed 3-4 times with the help of:
- mineral fertilizers dissolved in water at the rate of 15 g of nitrate and 20 g of potassium salt per bucket of water, which is enough for feeding 4 m2.
- solution of poultry manure in a ratio of 1:20.
- wood ash with an application rate of 200 g per 1 m2.
Recommended growing conditions
The plant is very demanding on the quality of the soil. You can get a rich harvest of leek on fertile land with good organic composition. Oxidized soil is strictly prohibited to use for growing leeks.
It takes root well in the area where legumes or cabbage, as well as plants of the Solanaceae family, have been grown for several years.
It is recommended to use fertilizers to improve the chemical composition of the soil and maintain its optimum moisture content. Organic species are perfect - compost, humus (up to 15 kg / sq. M.).
Planting leeks is best in a well-sunlit area. Since the lack of light and being in the shade negatively affects the growth of vegetable crops.
Leek. How to grow leeks
Leek is a biennial plant. In the first year it forms a false stem, in the second - flower stems with spherical inflorescences. Leeks are similar to broadleaf garlic. Its leaves are flat, linear, with a pleasant mild taste. The thickened bases of the leaves, which form a false stem, are eaten. The product has a high nutritional value, contains more protein, carotene, vitamins C and B than onions.
The yield of leeks is higher than that of green onions grown from pick and turnip. Withstands wintering in the open field and frosts up to (-7 ° C), stored buried in the cellar. It works best in cool years with heavy rainfall.
Growing onions - leeks
For leeks, deeply dug, well-fertilized, loamy and floodplain soils are suitable, heavy, clayey, acidic, waterlogged and light sandy soils are unsuitable.
Leeks place in the second year (on poor soils — in the first) after applying manure in the fall:
- (3 kg / m 2) or urea (18-22 g / m 2), superphosphate (31-42) and potassium salt (22-30 g / m 2).
Before planting leek seedlings, radishes, lettuce, early-maturing spinach and other crops are grown as the first crop in late May - early June.
Leeks have a long growing season (170-180 days) and slow initial growth, so it can be placed in the aisles of early cabbage, kohlrabi, bunch carrots.
Leeks are grown in seedlings:
Before sowing seeds for seedlings, they are germinated, for which they are soaked in warm (25-30 ° C) water for two or three days, keeping in a warm place between layers of wet sawdust. With a year-round conveyor, seedlings are sown for growing seedlings in February-March at temperatures above 7 ° C in boxes, pots or heated greenhouses, in early April - in greenhouses, from late April - early May - in open ground.
Sow to a depth of 1-1.5 cm with a distance between rows of 15 cm, between plants 10-15 cm. Before the emergence of shoots in the protected pound, the temperature is maintained at 20-22 ° C, when shoots appear, it is reduced to 8-10, after five - seven days are again increased to 20 ° C during the day and to 12 ° C at night.
In open ground, 50-60-day-old seedlings are plantedWhen the plants reach the thickness of a pencil and a height of 15-20 cm, from the first days of May on the ridges in four lines according to the 25/25 cm scheme or in three lines with a row spacing of 32 cm, the distance between plants is 18-20 cm.
The roots are pruned before planting., planted on the bottom of a furrow or hole 10-15 cm deep, 5 cm wide or more and watered. Add soil as the plants grow three to four times to get a longer bleached part of the false stem.
In the first year, leeks develop a false bulb. It is white, 10-12 cm high, 2-6 cm in diameter, turning into a light green false stem 10-80 cm high and lanceolate leaves 40-60 cm long. In the second year, a flower arrow and seeds are formed.
The culture is responsive to feeding:
- a solution of mullein (1: 8), bird droppings (1: 20) or urea (6 g / m 2) with the addition of two glasses of ash to a bucket of water.
With abundant feeding, especially at the end of summer, the frost resistance of plants decreases. Leeks have the ability to accumulate nitrates, therefore, more than one feeding should not be carried out.
Watered leek in dry seasons (3-4 l / m 2), during the year - three to four waterings (15-20 l / m 2).
The grocery part of leeks is better stored in the autumn-winter period than the greens of other onions. Leeks are stored buried in cellars, basements, in boxes on the balcony until the onset of stable frosts.
Varieties of onions - leeks
Varieties. Early ripe. Vesta, Duripshsky. Semi-sharp, universal use. Plant height, respectively, 100-140 and 108 cm, the length of the bleached part is 26-50 and 20-25 cm. Weight 210-232 and 206-220 g. Productivity 3.8-5.7 and 2.7-4.1 kg / m 2. Weakly susceptible to disease.
Medium early varieties are also cultivated with a yield, kg / m 2: Deso— rounders — 3—5, Lancelot — 4—5, Merli - 2.5-5 mid-late varieties Bandit — 3,5—4, Ginka and Pandora — 4,5—5.
Late ripening. Karantansky. Withstands very low temperatures, winters well in the ground (covered with straw, tops). Demanding on soil fertility. The height of the bleached part of the plant is up to 6 cm thick, 20-30 cm, weight 204-235 g. The bulb is cylindrical, slightly thickened at the end. From sowing to harvesting, 125-200 days pass. Productivity 2.1-2.6 kg / m. 2
Varieties are also widespread Bulgarian, Derrick (yield 4.5-5 kg / m 2), Gray wing.
When opening a cookbook with recipes for first and second courses, we very often find green leeks among the ingredients. As a rule, not finding this vegetable at hand, we replace it with onions, but in vain!
The presence of leeks in the composition of the dish gives it not only a piquant taste and mouth-watering aroma, but also makes the food healthy. Rich in vitamins, trace elements and essential oils, leeks can not only improve the taste and aroma of food, but also be a separate dish. So, leek puree soup is considered a very tasty, nutritious and healthy dish, which is often included in the diet of people suffering from diabetes or eating low-calorie foods. Leek is used raw, boiled, fried. Onions perfectly retain all the beneficial properties of dried, canned and frozen.
Growing leek seedlings
In the southern regions, leeks are grown in a seedless way: the seeds are sown directly into the ground after May 15. In the central and northern regions of Russia, leeks are grown as seedlings. This is also facilitated by the long growing season of this crop. For some varieties of onions and their growing season, you can find out in the article on storing leeks.
To obtain seedlings, the following sowing dates are recommended:
- mid - end of February (in seedling boxes on the window)
- mid-April (in a glazed greenhouse) and the end of April (under a film on the garden).
The length of daylight hours for leeks is 10-12 hours. Therefore, when sowing in February, it is imperative to organize additional lighting of seedlings.
The prepared seeds are sown in small boxes with moistened soil in rows every 5 cm. The depth of the sowing furrow is 1-1.5 cm. The crops are covered with foil and placed in a well-lit and warm (+ 22 ... + 25 ° C) place. When the first shoots appear, the film is removed, and the room temperature is lowered to + 15 ... + 17 ° C during the day and + 10 ... + 12 ° C at night. At this temperature, the seedlings are kept for one week. Then the temperature is brought to + 17 ... + 20 ° C during the day and + 10 ... + 14 ° C at night and maintained at this level during the entire period of growing seedlings.
Compliance with the temperature regime is an important condition for obtaining a crop. The high temperature during the seedling period is dangerous in that it contributes to the formation of a flower arrow not in the second year of the plant's life (as expected), but in the first year.
After a month, the thickened seedlings are thinned out so that the distance between adjacent plants in a row is 2-3 cm. The seedlings dive into pots with a diameter of 4 cm.The best results are obtained by growing seedlings in peat pots and peat tablets, since picking is not required in this case.
If conditions permit, the seedlings are watered with compost tea. Such dressings are carried out regularly (after 2 weeks) throughout the entire growing period. During the growth of the seedlings, it is recommended to prune the leek leaves so that their length remains at the level of 8-10 cm. The leaves can be pruned every two weeks, which will ensure better root growth as well as thickening of the stem.
Before planting, the seedlings of leeks, like other crops, are gradually hardened, that is, they are taken out into the street so that the plants get used to normal, not indoor conditions. Leek seedlings develop slowly. Upon reaching the age of 6-8 weeks, the stem diameter is 0.5-0.8 cm and the appearance of three leaves, the leek seedlings are ready for planting.