This French heritage variety makes an attractive addition to the vegetable plot, or even dotted among flower borders for a strong vertical accent. It's distinctive blue leaves take on an eye catching purple tinge as winter temperatures drop. Leek 'Bleu de Solaise' is a reliable winter variety producing short, heavy stems that will stand well through even the most atrocious winter weather. Height: 45cm (18"). Spread: 30cm (12").
Direct sow outdoors at a depth of 1cm (½") from late March to April into a well prepared seedbed, for transplanting to their final positions later on. Alternatively sow leek seed indoors from January to February at a depth of 1cm (½"), in modules using free-draining, seed sowing compost. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 10-15C (50-59F) until after germination which usually takes 14 -21 days. Once germinated, grow leek plants on in cool conditions until all risk of frost has passed.
When leeks are at least 20cm (8") tall, gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7-10 days before transplanting them into the well prepared, rich fertile, well drained soil in sun or semi shade. Plant leeks at a distance of 23cm (9") between plants and 30cm (12") between rows. Alternatively grow leeks in patio bags of good quality compost. Using a large, thick dibber, create each planting hole to a depth of 15cm (6") and lower the leeks into the holes ensuring that they reach the bottom. Fill each hole with water, washing sufficient soil around the plants to ensure that they can establish. This planting method will produce leeks with well blanched stems. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.
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