If you love leeks, wouldn’t it be awesome to have an unending supply of them?
The long-established way of growing leeks is to sow them directly in garden beds with well-draining and fertile soil.
However, with the sun beating hard on them, their crispy white bottoms quickly turn green. While they remain perfectly edible, the white part is what most people love munching on.
What if you could grow leeks in toilet rolls? Let’s dig deeper into this method.
What Is The Rationale Behind Growing Leeks In Toilet Rolls?
The logic behind growing leeks in toilet rolls is to protect their white bulbs from sunlight so they don’t go green too quickly and remain tender.
Cardboard toilet rolls serve the purpose best because of their compostable nature. They degrade naturally once you bury them.
Depending on your requirements and available rolls, you can cover two leeks with one toilet roll.
The initial steps involve sowing them in your garden bed, ensuring appropriate spacing. Leeks require fertile soil, mild weather, regular watering, and protection from pests and disease vectors.
It is best to sow them during spring and harvest them mid-summer.
Step 1: Prepare The Bed
Identify a spot with plenty of sunlight and dig the soil at 8 inches. The soil should be fertile— supplement it by adding some manure, preferably a season before.
Step 2: Prepare Furrows
Dig furrows on the seed bed using a hoe at a depth of approximately 7 inches while spacing them at 12 inches apart. The spacing should determine the number of furrows you’ll have on your seedbed.
Step 3: Plant Your Leeks
You can plant leeks in your garden bed through seeds or leek bulbs. If using seeds, plant them at ½ inch depth and space them 8 inches apart. You should thin the seeds once they germinate to ensure they have ample space for growth.
Leek bulbs or seedlings should be planted at the same depth as the original depth in their containers. While planting, ensure that the base is covered until the point where the bottom of the leaf shoot meets the white bulb.
Step 4: Water The Leeks
Water the leek seeds after planting but be careful not to overwater them. You want to continue watering as needed until maturity.
Ensure to mulch the leek seedlings. Mulching is an excellent way to suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture. If doing seeds, you should wait for six weeks before adding mulch.
The seedlings should have formed sufficient true leaves by then.
Step 5: Prepare Toilet Paper Rolls
The next step is to prepare toilet rolls by cutting them in half. Ensure each piece is at most 2 inches. That means a 4-inch roll is enough for two leeks, as mentioned earlier.
Step 6: Cover The Leeks
This is where the rubber meets the rod. You want to place the toilet rolls gently in the soil to cover the leaks.
Slide the rolls gently over the seedlings and bring them down to the soil’s surface. Have the toilet rolls go deep into the soil by one to two inches.
Step 7: Monitor Their Growth
Keep monitoring their growth to maturity. Spur them to growth by adding an all-purpose fertilizer on a need basis or bi-weekly.
Step 8: Transplanting
This is entirely optional and does not apply if you are planting them straight in your garden bed.
Transport leeks to their permanent site once they reach 8 inches in height.
A common transplanting practice is to thoroughly water the soil before uprooting transplants. This makes it easier to uproot them with their roots.
Prepare holes to transplant your leeks before you uproot them from the soil. The hole should be 6 inches deep and 2 inches wide.
How To Care For Leeks?
For your leeks to grow healthily, ensure you’re taking care of the parameters below.
As earlier alluded, leeks thrive in optimal sunlight during the growing season. Plant them in an area that is well naturally well-lit.
Additionally, ensure they receive up to 8 hours of daylight.
Water your leeks frequently because of their shallow root system, and maintain a weekly routine of deep watering. During hot and dry spells, we recommend thorough watering every 7- 10 days.
Leeks do well in well-draining sandy soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Besides fertilizer, it’s vital to improve the nutrient profile of your soil by adding rich compost.
Leeks prefer nutrient-dense soil for a bumper harvest. Among the nutrients is Nitrogen, which is added via side-dressing during the growth period.
Leeks are winter-hardy and can thrive in chilly conditions. This makes it easy for gardeners to grow them during the winter season.
That said, you can also plant them during spring and fall.
Harvesting And Storing Leeks
Most leek varieties mature within 100-120 days after sowing. A typical sign to look for when determining maturity is the stalk length. Mature stalks are about an inch in length.
Leeks are best harvested using a garden fork. Use the fork to reach under the roots and gently lift them out of the soil.
While you can harvest them when fully mature, some sources recommend harvesting baby leeks as they last much longer.
After harvest, avoid washing the leeks. Only dust them off while allowing the exterior to dry out.
Most leek varieties have no fuss about storage. Wrap them loosely in a plastic bag and place them in your refrigerator. This keeps them going for the next seven to ten days.
The conventional way of growing leeks is planting them in garden beds. However, gardeners can augment this method by growing them in toilet rolls.
Toilet rolls are handy to keep the growing stalks tender and to prevent the white base from quickly turning green due to Chlorophyll formation.
All said, the successful growth of any plant, including leeks, boils down to proper care. Follow the step-by-step guide outlined above for the best possible results.
I have found gardening to be my calling since being restricted to my apartment. I love studying rare species of plants and giving them a mention on my blog. I also love growing organic vegetables in my backyard.