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Video: Growing Leek Seedlings In An Apartment
Leeks are the sweetest of onions
Undeservedly previously deprived of the attention of gardeners and gardeners, leeks have become increasingly popular in recent years. If you first see it, say, with neighbors in a summer cottage, then you will probably mistake the plant for green young garlic (the external similarity is too great - the same flat matte leaves, only wider).
Having tasted this plant, you will not feel any garlic or onion taste. The taste of leeks is specific, slightly sweet and slightly spicy, but not at all pungent and very pleasant. It is the weakest onion in the entire onion family. It has a more delicate aroma and a more subtle and pleasant sweet taste than onion.
Therefore, it has been widely used both as a seasoning and as the main component of all kinds of side dishes. By the way, under favorable conditions, leeks are much more productive than ordinary onions. It also has one more pleasant feature - the leek has no rest period at all, and therefore the leaves will grow well until late autumn.
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Leek is one of the most valuable types of onions. It has not only excellent taste, but also the ability to provide gardeners with fresh herbs until the very frost, when you can hardly get greens from other onions. Its tender young leaves are very good. If it is reasonable, in small quantities, to cut them off for use in food, then this will not seriously affect the growth of plants.
But this onion is still not grown for the sake of the leaves (although they are partially also used for food, especially in early-ripening varieties), but for the sake of the bleached false stem, the so-called leg, which is the main edible part of the plant. This white leg is formed in the first year and can reach a length of 15 to 60 cm, and a thickness of 5-7 cm. In other words, the leg is understood as the entire lower part of the stem, up to the fan of leaves. The lower parts of the leaves by about 1/3 can also be safely used for food.
Leek is good in any form - fresh, boiled, stewed, fried, dried and canned. It keeps well in the frozen state. Leeks are used both as an independent product and as a seasoning when preparing vegetables. A variety of vegetable dishes are prepared from it, including salads, soups and all kinds of side dishes, which are good to add to both meat and fish dishes.
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Probably everyone knows the famous onion soup (it is often mentioned in books, and not only in culinary books). So it is not prepared from onions, but from leeks. And in general, leek will improve the taste of almost any dish. Boiled and lightly fried, this onion is used as a substitute for cauliflower. Green leaves are used to make a filling for pies loved in Russia, and the legs are fried with vegetable oil and used as a side dish.
From cave paintings to the present day
The ancient Romans and Greeks used leeks for food (and not only for food, but also as a medicinal plant), and, accordingly, the Mediterranean is considered its homeland. And in ancient Egypt, he was one of the most important vegetable plants. In general, leeks are almost the most ancient type of onion grown and used by humans.
Archaeologists claim that images of this particular plant were preserved on the rock paintings of primitive people. Today, leeks are most popular in Western and Southern Europe. For export, the largest amount of it is supplied by Western Europe (mainly France). And in Wales, this vegetable plant even serves as a national emblem. Although leeks are grown in America and even in North Africa. Without it, many national dishes in Greek, Italian and French cuisines are unthinkable. It can also be grown in Russia, and probably everywhere.
Both tasty and healthy
Leeks are prized for their high content of potassium salts (especially in the bleached part of the leg), therefore it is especially recommended for heart disease and metabolic disorders. Herbalists claim that leeks thin the blood and, like onions and garlic, lower cholesterol levels. In addition to everything, leeks are rich in vitamins, first of all, vitamin C (by the way, in terms of vitamin C content, leeks are significantly superior to ordinary onions). It also contains carotene, vitamins E, B1, B2, PP and others.
Moreover, an unusual fact should be noted - during storage of leeks (probably this is the only case among plants), the content of vitamins in it does not decrease, but increases markedly. Contains leeks and phytoncides, which help a person to fight against pathogens, increasing resistance to infectious diseases. Magnesium is also present in considerable quantities in leek - known for its anti-stress effect.
In addition, leeks are recommended for patients with gout and rheumatism, with mental and physical fatigue, to improve liver function and increase appetite. Leek is curative and in the presence of kidney stones and salt deposition, it has a beneficial effect on the activity of the liver and gallbladder.
It all starts with seedlings
Most leek varieties have a growing season of about 150-180 days (although there are varieties with a growing season even 200 days, but it is difficult to grow such in our country). Therefore, it is obvious that, of course, one cannot do without seedlings. The recommended seedling age is 50-60 days.
To get normal seedlings by mid-May, the seeds will have to be sown around mid-March (very late varieties are sown even earlier - in late February - early March). You can do this at home. But, it is preferable (from my point of view) to sow directly into the greenhouse, because providing a high level of illumination in an apartment is not easy. Let's consider both options.
Seedlings at home
In this case, sufficiently deep containers (10-12 cm high) will be required, because onion already initially grow rather long roots - leeks refuse to grow in bowls of shallow depth. In a shallower container, only miserable feathers grow, from which then it will not be possible to get a normal harvest. Therefore, for a given culture, the depth of the container should be considered decisive when growing seedlings at home.
In addition, at home, leeks tend to get sick and die from waterlogging at every opportunity (in a greenhouse, this is extremely rare). Neither light structured soil with a lot of agrovermiculite nor very limited watering helps. The only, in my opinion, reliable option is to provide good drainage (expanded clay with a layer of 1.5 cm) and to carry out regular preventive watering with biological products (rhizoplan, trichodermin and black yeast).
There is one more problem, already common for all other plants, the seedlings of which we are used to growing at home - this is illumination. Leeks are extremely picky in this regard, so they will have to take a better place on the windowsill and in addition carry out regular spraying with epin in order to reduce the negative reaction of plants to a lack of light. With a lack of light, the leek stretches out, and you can't get a big harvest from the stretched seedlings.
The soil, of course, must be fertile and breathable. Therefore, it should contain vermicompost in its composition; for looseness, add stale sawdust and agrovermiculite.
There are no peculiarities in the sowing itself. True, you do not need to sow thickly (approximately at a distance of 1 cm from each other). First, you need to compact the soil in a bowl before sowing itself, then carefully spread the seeds and sprinkle on top with a thin (0.5 cm) layer of soil.
Then cover the container with the seeds with foil and place it in a warm place with a temperature of 20 … 22 ° C, for example, on a battery. But do not just put it on and forget it, but periodically ventilate it to avoid the appearance of mold and moisten it if necessary. Under these conditions, seedlings will appear in about 6-10 days after sowing the seeds.
After that, the film, of course, is removed, and the bowl with the seedlings is set closer in the light. The temperature is then reduced. The most favorable should be considered a daytime temperature of 18 ° C, and a nighttime temperature of 10 … 11 ° C. Only if the required temperature regime is observed, the seedlings do not stretch out, do not lie down and acquire a pleasant dark green color.
If possible, the plants should be taken out for the day on a glazed and additionally insulated loggia (you can even leave it there all night), because a sufficiently high temperature in the apartment does not contribute to the formation of high-quality seedlings. To create the appropriate temperature conditions, someone gets out of the situation, often airing the seedlings or even keeping the window open. I always exhibited plants on the southern loggia and, if necessary, covered them with covering material at night.
At first, leeks, like ordinary onions, develop rather slowly, after three weeks, plant growth is noticeably accelerated.
As for watering, here, on the one hand, you need to act extremely carefully and not overdo it, and on the other hand, not to allow the slightest drying out of the soil. And I have already mentioned above about preventive watering with biological products and spraying.
During cultivation, it is desirable to feed the seedlings 2-3 times. Best suited for leek, given its increased need for nitrogen fertilizers, Planta's drug. You can also use any complex fertilizer like Kemira for feeding.
Read the sequel "Growing leek in a greenhouse and open field" →
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