Situation: untenable

As the garden has filled out, its gotten more crowded. We kind of expected a thicket, since the seedling tags all recommended much more space than Steve and I were prepared to provide. But in one area of the garden, I made a significant, critical error.

Crowded leeksI planted all the leeks together. In the same hole.

Now, to be fair, I picked out one container, which I assumed to be one leek. I thought it odd that leeks came in single seedlings, because I assumed people ordinarily didn’t just grow one leek at a time, but I rolled with it. I had no idea what I was doing, and the night we picked out that batch of seedlings, I had a bad case of the crankies.

A few weeks ago, I took a closer look at the burgeoning clump of leeks. “I think I made a mistake,” I said to Steve. He looked up at me from another part of the garden.

“I think I planted the leeks too close together.”

“How many are there?”

“Three,” I said. “No, I mean four. Maybe five.”

“And you planted them all together?” Steve shook his head. “Inadvertent, you’re going to have stunted leeks.”

The situation is growing graver by the day. The leeks have grown, but at some point, this will become untenable.

The solution, however, has yet to present itself. I have considered pulling a single leek to see whether or not any of them are ready and, in the process, to provide the rest with a little more breathing room. I’ve thought about pulling all of them and planting something else in that space. I’ve thought about just ignoring them until later in the summer.

Steve has decided to be hands-off on this one. The decision is entirely up to me. I’m taking votes, if you care to comment.

6 Responses to “Situation: untenable”

  1. 1 steven June 28, 2006 at 9:11 am

    I say pull the smallest one and chop it up into soup. Imade a similar mistake last year and got undersized leeks that were still good.

  2. 2 bloglily June 28, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Yes, agreed, except maybe more than one. My first thought, which seems a little grisly when I reflect for a moment, was “baby leek soup.” But a leek is not a veal, so this should be okay. (Which reminds me — I saw a bumper sticker on a car today in Berkeley that said, “I do not eat things with faces.” It sort of cracked me up to think I was driving behind someone in the militant wing of the vegetarian movement, someone who’d clearly taken lessons from my mother on how to lay the guilt on extra thick.)

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener June 28, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Baby leek soup. I like the sound of that! I had in mind either a rendition of a fabulous leeky-garlicky soup I had in Vienna, Austria about 12 years ago, or Rachael Ray’s Leeky Chicken recipe, which I also like very much. But perhaps the soup will win out, based on current recommendations.

    Bloglily, that bumper sticker cracks me up — I’ve seen it before, too. :-)

  4. 4 Melissa June 29, 2006 at 9:27 am

    I don’t have any leek-growing advice, but I can tell you that potato leek soup is fantastic!

  5. 5 Judith July 29, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    A nifty thing about leeks is that they can take frost. I’ve even harvested them when covered with snow – although the ground itself wasn’t frozen. So here’s what I would do, since it’s way too early to harvest them.

    On a cloudy day, leave the biggest one in place and gently pull the rest, roots intact. Transplant them to some new spaces, for instance where an early crop has finished (lettuce, peas). I know you feel your garden is crowded, but they won’t take much room. They’ll not like it at first, but then they’ll settle in and grow until frost.

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener July 30, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Judith, that’s a really interesting idea…I’ll have to consider that. I think I’d heard before that they could take frost, but wasn’t truly sure I believed it. Good to know it works!

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