Growing leeks is not difficult but it is certainly not for every gardener; they have a long season and to my knowledge are not sprayed with poisons by commercial farmers.
Also you can usually buy leeks that are fairly fresh, and not wrapped in plastic, from the greengrocer.
But, if you are a greenie, and have a large garden, then your own delicious, organic-leeks may be as important to you as they are to me.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 4th November, 2021.
The onion family is well known for its nutritious properties, quite apart from the great taste; particularly for a phytochemical known as allicin. It is a powerful antioxidant; that means it mops up free-radicals and helps prevent disease.
Whether it is leeks, garlic or the common onion, they need to be daily on your plate; add sliced green-shallots or chives to your salad and you have the perfect balance of raw and cooked members of the allium family.
Leeks are also rich in another bioflavonoid called kaempferol which has been strongly linked in the journal Medicinal Chemistry for its protection against a host of diseases including diabetes, osteoporosis and high estrogen.
At this phytochemical foods page you can find out more information concerning many other vital substances that we should be enjoying regularly if we want to reach a vibrant, vital eighty with all our marbles intact.
For years we bought onions in vast quantities until I realised that, grown in our own organic garden, leeks would provide even more benefits to our well-being and we could relish them just the same.
Now if I am making our eggs Florentine for breakfast, or even a salad, shredded leeks provide great flavour, and enough of the phytochemical allicin to stop malignant tumours, unless you are a smoker, of course; even then it will help.
Growing leeks from seed is actually the way we got started. But if you inadvertently planted them too thickly, then they start to produce pups. Taking a clump and splitting it and separating out the tiny bulbs is even easier.
Leeks are slow growing. Perhaps most difficult is protecting them from your own careless boots when they are young.
Weed control is also important obviously; a mulch helps. Companion planting too is useful. Here they are protecting kale from bugs and diseases.
A clump of leek seedlings like the one below will never thrive unless you split it and plant them out.
The growing leeks have taken offense at me lifting them out of their comfort zone from the clump above but within a couple days they will be raising their weary heads. I will water them daily until they have cheered up.
These were planted out in early in spring; mid-September to be precise in the Southern Hemisphere.
In just another couple of months we will be enjoying vichyssoise several
times a week. The Irish leek and potato soup recipe below is one of my favourites, hot or cold. Oddly it is not fattening if you enjoy it chilled in the French tradition; the starches retrograde.
Here is the leek patch, two months later, in mid November. Is it not interesting how such a sorry looking mess of seedlings with water and care can appear so different?
I am testing a theory that onions and legumes should not be grown together. So far, both look fantastic.
Last night we enjoyed our first vichyssoise soup; whilst both the leeks and potatoes in our garden are young, we have so many that we can indulge in early first fruits.
It is interesting that new potatoes, which are very hard to get unless you grow them yourself, do not give an insulin rush like those from cold storage; or in other terms, they have a much lower glycemic index. That means they are not fattening either.
Many farming methods are barbaric; they spray their potatoes with a herbicide two weeks before harvesting to kill off the haulm. It is little wonder we are so poorly.
The wise European parliament banned the noxious chemical completely in April, 2018; Bayer has been successfully hit with numerous court cases that concluded that it causes lymphomas. So we only eat our own spuds.
The green beans are in flower and we will be enjoying them within a week; they have a short life and will soon be out, allowing the growing leeks to go on to maturity, in nitrogen-enriched soil that all legumes bring to the earth.
The potato plants are just poking their heads through the ground in Spring; before Christmas it will be soup galore in the Southern Hemisphere.
Growing your own vegetables, and cooking your own basic foods from scratch is such a joy. But it does mean getting your hands dirty, stretching the lower back and turning the television off. None of that did any harm. Let us enjoy ourselves instead of watching others having fun.
No soup is complete without an onion, of course, but it is the leeks in vichyssoise, called an Irish potato leek soup in the UK, that has made this vegetable so popular.
A questionnaire sent to a large group of Americans found that daily one in three persons were dieting; and so there were concerns about eating anything with potato. There is a solution; allow your vichyssoise to chill overnight, and enjoy it the next day.
The starch molecules re-form in a crystalline structure that the enzymes in the small intestine have difficulty digesting with little resulting blood sugar rush. The process is known as retrogradation.
Find out more about reheating resistant starch.
They key is to sweat down your leeks in melted butter, on low heat, until they are completely translucent. Only then add your salt and pepper and turn up the power to brown them.
Phytochemical foods should be part of your medicine chest. It has been said before; those enjoying their own plentiful supply of fresh fruit and vegetables will be getting enough of the anti-oxidants that help to prevent tumours. Just one source is to be had by growing leeks.
These phytochemicals are in the orange in butternut, the purple in blueberries and the green in spinach. Enjoy coloured foods daily and you will find yourself taking a heap less drugs. Helen and I take none, literally. Allicin is just one of these nutrients from growing leeks.
What about if you do not enjoy eating these foods? You just do not like the taste, or the consistency or whatever. Medicine never did taste good; swallow them quickly.
We have been hoodwinked into believing we need eat only those foods we enjoy the taste of; it is a life-threatening fallacy, or fake news in the modern jargon.
Allicin benefits abound for those growing leeks.
The allium family of vegetables not only add enormous nutritional value to our diet, they are also anti-inflammatory and contribute more to the flavour of our meals that perhaps any other veggie. Just where would we be without leeks for a soup, garlic for olive pate, and shallots for a salad?
And of course the onion on a burger is perhaps the best part, unless you get the Full Monty; tomato, gherkins and lettuce.
Annually we grow green beans between our growing leeks. This year it is the turn of favas; they are especially important in the prevention and treatment of Parkinson's disease. They are the only plant that I know of that will naturally provide L-dopa.
How to plant broad beans is really very easy but they do need to be supported with stakes firmly inserted into the earth.
Nutritious choice foods will always include something from the onion family; growing leeks and shallots are my favourites. They are lovely in a cauliflower soup recipe too.
Learn how to plant potatoes so you can enjoy them fresh from the ground without a glycemic rush, and no weedicides like Roundup; it is part of the joy of ones own garden.
Is it your desire to take no medication, or almost none, enjoy a long and, if you have no serious injuries, largely pain free life? Then make sure you are enjoying these anti-inflammatory delights on a daily basis; shun fast foods.
Life without medication is not a figment of my imagination; it is our very real experience. That phrase incidentally comes from Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. The last time I popped a pill was six months ago for an abscess under a crown, and even longer for the good wife. Now I floss daily.
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