You are certainly familiar with the “classic” leek that is grown every year in your vegetable patch. But did you know that there is also a perennial leek that is very easy to grow and requires very little maintenance? Discover in this article all the secrets of this ancient forgotten vegetable that deserves to be better known…
What distinguishes the perpetual leek from its cousin the annual leek?
The perpetual leek is the ancestor of the cultivated leek, it has been consumed since the Paleolithic period during the hunter-gatherer period. Its big advantage is that it is perpetual, that is to say that it remains in place from year to year in the vegetable garden without maintenance. The perpetual leek stands out with its smaller size. We find at the base the bulb, and on the top of the barrels, thinner having generally the thickness of a finger. Over time, the stems of perennial leeks form denser clumps, which are easy to divide. In terms of flavor, the perpetual leek has nothing to envy to that of its cousin. We find the taste of leek in a finer, more subtle way, allowing it to be used easily in cooking as a herb in particular.
How to grow perennial leek ?
Easy to grow, it appreciates sunny or semi-shaded locations, in rather rich and draining soil. The bulbs are planted between August 15 and the end of September. They are buried about 5 cm deep, spacing them every 10 cm in rows 35 cm apart. For the first bulbs planted the leaves will develop during the winter. The following years, around July-August, the foliage disappears completely and the bulb enters vegetative rest. This is perfectly normal. The perpetual leek does not require any particular maintenance, it is more resistant than its cousin, in particular to drought or leek worm disease.
How to harvest and cook this perennial ancient vegetable?
Harvesting is done when the leaves are large enough (about 3 months after planting the bulbs). Once the perpetual leek is installed, it can be picked as needed from September to June. This leek is harvested by cutting the stems 1 or 2 cm from the base, leaving the bulbs well in the ground, they then grow back quickly to provide other crops.
It is a leek grown more as a condiment plant than as a vegetable, but with its fine taste, it is in fact an excellent herb for seasoning broths, soups, or even your salads. We thus find the taste of leek by simply chopping the leaves. It is also excellent in an omelette, beat your egg in a salad bowl, chop the leek and cook everything in a pan for a few minutes. All you have to do is taste it !