Name: King Richard Leeks aka Allium porrum ‘King Richard’
Type of Plant: Leeks are a hardy biennial that we grow as an annual vegetable in the northeast. It’s in the genus Allium, so you know it’s related to other onions.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love leeks because they are easy to grow and last a long time in the vegetable garden. You can harvest some when they are as thin as scallions, and others you can let mature in the garden. Since they withstand frosts, they are one of the vegetables you can harvest into and even through December in this region. The variety called ‘King Richard’ is perfect for shorter growing seasons.
A Word to the Wise: Leeks can either be grown from seed or from what we call “starts,” which are young plants. Starts are shipped in a bundle in the spring, and in this area we plant them in late May. If you’re starting leeks from seed you can sow them inside in late March or early April, and transplant into the garden at the end of May. Place leek plants about four inches apart unless you want to grow them more closely and harvest every other one as the summer goes on.
You can freeze leeks by pan-cooking them in olive oil and then putting them in plastic freezer bags or cartons for future cooking.