Andi Clevely’s leek growing method

We own The Allotment Book, by Andi Clevely. In fact we own enough gardening, vegetable growing and allotment books to build a reasonable sized shed. And from time to time I find something in one of them that leads us to an experiment.

Andi Clevely is one of my favourite innovators in allotment growing – his outward leaning beanpoles were one experiment that we conducted and that we found to be a superb innovation. Not only can we grow a salad crop at the bottom of the rows, harvesting beans is about 70% faster when they lean outwards and offer themselves to the picker’s hand.

But then there are the leeks. Is it really possible to simply dig a six inch deep hole, denude a leek seedling of soil, plop it in said hole and have said leek fill hole without further intervention?

Mr Clevely says so. My faint heart says not. So we have decided to experiment in one raised bed, using the Clevely method as shown in these photos. The idea is to use the newspaper as a mulch and weed suppressant, adding grass clippings as and when we get them to provide further mulch and nutrients, presumably. Once the leeks are dropped in (plopped in, as Himself insists on saying) you water them well and that’s it! Apparently they will expand to fill the space available, rather like work does …

Our other leek beds will be planted using my standard method – dig a really deeeep hole, drop leek in, fill hole with growing medium, earth up a bit as they grow. And come harvest time I shall measure the leeks in each bed and tell you which lot were bigger!

The leeks in question are the Elephant variety which should get pretty big, so we’ll see what happens.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, May 17, 2010

5 Comments:

Blogger Ali said...

Last year I just used a blub planter to make a hole, put very thin baby leeks in and watered - that was it. Mission accomplished as they are still going strong now & we are still eating!
I will try the newspaper & grass this year though - good idea! Thanks for sharing.

May 17, 2010 at 3:34 AM  
Anonymous Damo said...

Looks like a good idea. I'm going to try growing them in sections of water pipe about 1 1/2 inch wide, they blanch really well apparently but it must be water pipe as they are smooth on the inside. Saying that they are still in a tray in the greenhouse and I don't have any water pipe....maybe next year!

May 19, 2010 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Ali, I really hope you're right about the hole thing, because I actually wake up in the night panicking about losing my leek crop! Let me know how you get on with the mulch, it seems an interesting approach.

Damo - here's the problem I had using pipe a couple of years ago - the leeks got too big and were impossible to get out of the pipe!

May 24, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous allotments4you.com said...

A novel idea...and a very easy one if it works so I will be waiting for the results in preparation of next year.

May 26, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous plant vegetables said...

Wow! I will try growing leeks some time. Your article inspired me. thanks!

April 20, 2011 at 3:34 AM  

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