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Old October 15, 2018   #1
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 2,515
Default Leeks for Hot Summers

My leeks bolted mid summer. It was relentlessly hot, and I kept them well watered. Several were developing a hard stalk and were not useable, so I went ahead and pulled what was still good several months before they could reach their potential.

The origin was (Lancelot?) plants from Dixondale, re-sold at a local nursery. The purchased bunch of plants were smaller than the year prior, and I heard from the nursery that it was a tough year for them. They were delayed in shipment too.

I would like to start seeds in addition to buying bare root again. To hedge my best against another hot summer, what may be a best of the worst choice for hot/dry conditions?

Would there be any way to plant mid summer and still get good sized leeks in fall or is that setting up for bolting again?

- Lisa
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Old October 16, 2018   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Cold hardy zone 4b-5a, Heat zone 4-5, Sunset zone 43
Posts: 228

I grew American Flag leeks this year, so far only one has started to bolt. I also had a very hot dry summer. I seeded them in March and transplanted in mid June. They're about half the thickness of a store leek...if I'd fed them better they'd probably be bigger. So yeah, you could do midsummer planting, just may get smaller leeks.

Another one to try might be the leek assortment from Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed. I've grown those before with great results.
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Last edited by MissMoustache; October 16, 2018 at 12:08 AM.
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Old October 17, 2018   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Posts: 6,793

A lot of our leeks bolted this year, both in my garden and at the farm. They were planted in February and transplanted out early spring, but after a few weeks of warm weather we had a major chilling (with snow and freezes) in June. I was growing Mammoth leek, and only a handful bolted by October. (small percentage say less than 5%). OTOH quite a few of them formed pearls (baby leeks coming in a clump around them - which is kinda cool. ) I also have some American Flag here which I'm keeping as a perennial, and they did not bolt early at all. Flowers came as usual very late - pretty much too late to get seed. So maybe that's a second vote for AF. I'm not sure what varieties were growing at the farm, but Lancelot is one she's grown before so could be that. The rate of bolting was pretty high I would say close to 50%! had bolted before the end of August.

Did you try eating the scapes of the leeks? I have eaten them and found them good! Of course not the same as a big fat leek but a nice treat in its own right. Like garlic scapes you would have to cut them before they get too hard.
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Old October 17, 2018   #4
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 2,515

There are a few interesting leek seed varieties out there for sure which is not something I was paying much attention to thanks to my tomato addiction. I had good luck with the Lancelot Dixondale plants the summer prior. It was my first leek year and it really motivated me to make it an annual thing. This year the Dixondale plants started out so fat and healthy and but as the searing heat never ended they bolted early.

In researching leeks on the forum, I saw Tormato had a seed offer from Fred's website in 2016 . I think it was there too that there was a leek that made pearls but from memory I don't remember reading about Mammoth. Come to think of it, we had a mild spell and them went into a late winter for several weeks before the sun blast furnace got turned on all summer. I never thought of eating the scapes. Yum!

I actually bought a pack of leek seeds (have to dig them out and post what they are when I get seeds going) last year so I would have a back up plan but didn't start them when I heard my local nursery was carrying Dixondale plants again.

Well now I know to start seeds and maybe order a different variety plant (not Lancelot) from another vendor to assure delicious leeks next season!

- Lisa
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