Leeks. Two years ago, I was leek-uninitiated. I’d never cooked them, and don’t recall ever eating them. I’d certainly never grown them. My first exercise in leeks was a tart. It was… perfect! Good heavens, how simple! The buttery leeks complemented by a sharp mustard, and good dash of ground Tassie pepper berries on top. Morning tea was certainly a gourmet affair at work that friday.
Last year, I tried to grow leeks. I tried to grow lots of things. I live in a fairly hot place for most of the year, so I thought growing it all under the shade-cloth covered area along the side fence would be a good, sun-safe spot for my veggies. Fail. The thin & weedy looking leek seedings quickly disappeared (and the dog then buried them in her infernal diggings…), the cherry tomato got all leggy & elongated, and the parsley… well that’s doing just fine. Basically, nothing, barring parsley, will ever grow well in there. Nothing edible anyway. I got a single tomato from that plant – and it was bitter. That whole bed is disappointing as it’s in such a convenient location outside the back door & I don’t need to walk on the dog-bombed grass to water anything. I’m now attempting a fern garden… don’t ask any questions on that until next year.
So bring on a revamped garden bed along the back fence. I had some pregnancy related madness & removed the triffids, took to the boganvilla with a chainsaw (true!), turned over the water-proof lawn clippings & proceeded to do things to that soil that had never been done before. Evidence in fact by the potting mix that was still under every plant I pulled up & the rest was still red, virgin, barren, Kalgoorlie clay.
The first crop: corn. Apparently they love water. Apparently I don’t like watering things. I got corn. Very small cobs of not much. Fail.
But then: buoyed by my successful no-dig garden bed on the nature strip & a trip to bunnings, I planted leeks! And lettuce, purple carrot seeds, a few beetroot, some rainbow chard, a curry plant, fennel, and potatoes of varieties I don’t remember. But leeks! Proper, too. I dug a little channel, put my delicate clumps of leeks in (to separate later), ready for a grand harvest in… i dunno. How long do leeks take to do their thing? I think I did that in Easter. So now it’s August & they’re nowhere near useful for anything. I did tend to them dutifully, though. Over the weekend, they have been separated, buried & collared. Why bury & collar them? Because the white bits is what we’re after. The tender, hidden from the sun, buried in the earth, white fleshy yum bits. The rest goes to mum’s chooks. I used toilet paper rolls for collars & just mounded up dirt when I ran out. I cannot wait until they’re ready for picking!!
To pass the time, I picked one of mum’s mega leeks. This goliath is bigger & better than the ones in the shops. You might have noticed leeks on your journey through the veg department & saw they are hideously expensive for very little gain. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by decent leeks in the past, but at the moment, they seem kind of… short. And expensive. Although leeks are always a little pricey. I can see why, although they make an excellent substitute for onions in almost any dish, they aren’t cooked with more often. But I digress… mum’s leek has been frittated. I won’t be repeating the recipe because it was resounding disappointment. Too much pumpkin & sweet potato, not enough eggy & leeky goodness.