It is Onion And Leek Time!

By Jannie Vaught

Yes, if you find your gardening duties are slow now it just got busy. The onion starts are in the feed stores. Here in central Texas, it is Short Day onions that do best (11 to 12 hour day lengths). Here are some that grow well here. Yellow: Chula Vista, Cougar, Jaguar, Legend, Linda Vista, Mercedes, Prowler, Safari, Sweet sunrise, TX 1015Y, Early Grano 502, Granex. White: Cirrus, Marquesa, Tx Early white, Crystal white. Red: Redbone, Sakata red, Rio Santiago, Red burgundy. They like full sun and loose soil. They can stand some cold temperatures. If you are eager to get digging its time to prepare for them to be planted. Soil is dry enough if it doesn’t stick to garden tools and can be turned 8 to 10 inches. They are a cold crop and can be planted seeds, bulbs or transplants. when seeding place each seed 1 inch apart, it is often to get too many seeds down that row and when they are green onion size you can carefully thin and have green onions. When planting bulbs and transplants plant 3/4 inch deep and 3 inches apart. They need a mild 10 10 10 fertilizer and watering about once a week when it gets dry and through the spring into summer harvest.Harvest when the tops start to fold over and if they start to flower you can gently push the tops over and let them begin the final bulbing stage. When the outer skin is forming its time to gently dig them and just lay them over in the row if it is threatening to rain you can bring them undercover and hang them or lay flat to cure and dry.

Leeks the lovable mild giant. The super sized scallion. A hardy cool-season crop will grow in almost any soil. But some soft soil and compost will give them an extra boost and size. You can start seeds inside and transplant or some gardeners plant in early fall and harvest a late winter crop. An heirloom variety is the Giant Musselburgh leek, King Richard, American Flag. Beloved for its thick, tender stalk and mild flavor. Leeks are slow growers that require a long season. They are bready when the stems are 1 to 1 1/2 inch in diameter. A light frost can actually sweeten them. Harvest by loosening the soil with a garden fork before you gently lift them out. Store them in the soil in a root seller or covered in your refrigerator. they will keep for 2 weeks. Before you make that creamy leek soup be sure to thoroughly clean as dirt can be trapped in the layers, use as much green as possible until it gets tough.

Not everyone uses the green but I find them to add color to soups and anyway I’m cooking with them. I used leek this last Thanksgiving in our dressing and it was fantastic. Time to dig the row and plant the onions, don’t for the leeks.

Growing green with Jannie