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Leek: Characteristics Of The Culture And Useful Properties
Leek: Characteristics Of The Culture And Useful Properties

Video: Leek: Characteristics Of The Culture And Useful Properties

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Video: What kind of vegetable is a leek? 2023, February

The sweetest onion in Northwest Russia

growing leeks
growing leeks

As I noted in previous articles, the Onion family unites about 30 genera and 650 species. The issues of taxonomy, distribution, and biology of representatives of this family have long attracted the attention of researchers. But gardeners were more interested in the taste of the representatives of this family. Leek is a striking representative of this species.

This onion is characterized by high yield, cold resistance; unlike onions, leeks are not affected by diseases and pests, they are distinguished by their versatility of use, as well as valuable dietary properties. This culture lacks the pungent smell and taste caused by the presence of active sulfur compounds. Its aroma is softer, and its taste is subtler, more pleasant, sweeter than that of onions.

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Pantry of vitamins and minerals

Leek has a beneficial effect on the digestive system, increases appetite, improves the activity of the gallbladder, kidneys and liver, metabolism. Eating this vegetable in food contributes to the active work of the brain, strengthens the respiratory system, and helps with physical and mental fatigue. In general, a vegetable that we cannot do without. Why buy questionable dietary supplements in pharmacies when leeks are called the "living periodic table" because of their rich chemical content.

It contains (in%): water 83-87, proteins 2-3, total carbohydrates 7.3-11.2, including sugar - 0.5; starch 0.3, fiber 1.5, fats 0.2, organic acids 0.1, ash 1.2; vitamins (mg%): A (carotene) - 0.03, B 1 (thiamine) - 0.06-01, B 2 (riboflavin) - 0.04-0.06, B C - 0.1. B 6 - 000.3, B 9 (folacin) - 0.03, C (ascorbic acid) - 35-80, E - 1.5-3, H - 0.14, PP (niacin) - 0.5, carotene - 0.7.

Minerals in onions (mg / 100 g): sodium - 50, potassium - 225, calcium - 87, magnesium -10, phosphorus - 58, iron - 1.0-2.4, as well as zinc, manganese, copper, silicon …

Along with the main macro- and microelements, it includes nickel, cobalt, chromium, vanadium, molybdenum, titanium.

A unique property of leeks - during storage, the amount of vitamin C in the bulbs does not decrease, but increases from 40-50 mg per 100 g of raw material to 45-85 mg due to its outflow from the leaves. Leek - Japanese traditional medicine for the prevention of colds

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Onions are mentioned in the works of the ancient Greek poet Homer, the historian Herodotus. In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Cheops rewarded his most distinguished subordinates with bundles of leeks.

Leek is the most consumed vegetable in Japan and China. It is grown on an industrial scale and added to almost all local dishes. I think that not only in Great Britain, where there is currently a leek club, whose members exchange their experience of growing this onion during meetings, arrange exhibitions, but in our country this crop will soon attract the attention of gardeners. Moreover, we already have real masters of their craft, who grow large harvests of leeks from year to year. For example, this culture has long been mastered to perfection by the Romanov family from Kolpino.

Culture characteristics

growing leeks
growing leeks

I will not bore readers with a very detailed description of the morphological features of this culture. However, it makes sense to dwell on its main characteristics. The root system of leeks is strong, fibrous, and consists of numerous weakly branching roots.

They grow from the stem at the base of the leaves and are arranged along the bottom in circles. They penetrate to a depth of 0.6 m. It is useful for gardeners to know that the roots of leeks are easily renewed, so it tolerates transplanting well. The leaf blade of leek is wide - 3-10 cm, depending on the variety, it is bent along the central vein or flat, covered with a waxy coating. The color of the leaves varies from light green to dark green.

I want to draw the attention of gardeners to the fact that varieties with a blue-green leaf color have an increased content of saccharides, chlorophyll, due to which they have increased resistance to low temperatures, and they also have a thick waxy layer that protects the plant from virus carriers (aphids and thrips). An adult plant develops from 6 to 23 leaves. Leek leaves contain a lot of dry matter. Due to this feature, it can be stored for a long time (3-4 months) with leaves in a refrigerator or basement at a temperature of 1 … 2 ° C.

Leek is a biennial plant, cultivated as an annual. He eats a thickened leaf formation, which forms a false stem. The length of the false stem is a varietal trait and ranges from 10 to 80 cm, the thickness is 4-7 cm. In the second year of life, a straight flower arrow 100-150 cm high is formed at the leek.I think that gardeners do not seed leeks in our climatic zone, it possible only south of 55 ° N. sh. Therefore, I will not cover the botanical features of leeks in the second year of vegetation.

For the curious, it can be noted that often at a low temperature or when the buds are removed on the receptacle, along with the buds, airy bulbs are formed. This is due to the fact that leeks are characterized by an increased tendency to vegetative propagation. Aerial bulbs and flower buds can also form at the site of an arrow wound, they are also used for reproduction. In this case, the first two leaves, just like when grown from seeds, are tubular, and the subsequent ones are flat. But it is still more rational to grow leeks from seeds, especially since the agricultural technology of its cultivation is not complicated.

When growing leeks, it must be borne in mind that this plant is light and moisture-loving. Loves light fertile soils, but heavy, clayey and acidic soils are unsuitable for growing it. Leek thrives on soil with a pH of 6.5–7.5. If your soil is acidic, then it is better to lime it. It is advisable to do this in the fall. And that's why. Lime is not buried in the ground. It is scattered over the surface after the autumn digging so that it is better absorbed into the soil along with the rains.

At our site, we manage with a single-tier autumn digging of soil for leeks. Those who have heavy soil on the site or require drainage, it is better to process it in a two-tier way. And this should be done in the fall. I would like to note that the fertility of the site largely depends on the correct tillage. There is a lot of talk about organic farming now. This practice is based on the theory of natural restoration of soil fertility due to the transformation of organic matter under the influence of the vital activity of bacteria into humus.

According to the supporters of such minimal tillage, digging leads not only to the destruction of growing weeds, but also to the germination of numerous weed seeds in the soil. Followers of the organic school plant or plant the plants on a layer of compost scattered over the surface of the earth. With an organic farming system, significant labor costs are spent on proper composting; a good result is obtained in certain soil and climatic conditions and the introduction of a sufficient amount of organic matter.

We cultivate the soil in the traditional way. I believe that any method of soil cultivation, if carried out correctly, gives good results in specific conditions. It is imperative to take into account the location of your site and only practically find the best way to maintain its high fertility. But back to leek farming techniques.

Growing seedlings

Leeks in our climate zone are planted with seedlings. Usually gardeners have a question: when to sow onions for seedlings and how many days to grow them? In our area, we harvested a good harvest when planting fifty-day seedlings in the ground from May 25 to June 10. The thickest leg is obtained when 40 and 30-day seedlings are planted before June 5. This applies to medium early varieties.

When growing seedlings, light conditions greatly affect its quality. Therefore, it is better not to sow onion seeds for seedlings before mid-March. Usually, for growing leek seedlings, we use coconut substrate mixed with river sand 1: 1 with the addition of 40 g of diammofoska per 10 liters of soil. We plant with dry seeds on a moistened mixture in rows at a distance of 4-6 cm from each other. The seeding depth is 0.7-1 cm. Then we cover the container with the crops with a foil and keep it until shoots appear at a temperature of 20 … 25 ° C. When seedlings appear for 3-4 days, we reduce the temperature to 8 … 12 ° C so that the seedlings do not stretch out. In the future, we maintain a temperature of 18 … 20 ° С during the day and 10 … 12 ° С at night. We water the plantings as needed, avoiding either drying out or waterlogging of the soil.

Read the end of the article "Leeks, varieties and cultivation techniques" →

Vladimir Stepanov,

doctor of biological sciences, head of the farm "Elita", Pskov region

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