A rare visitor to our beds
When we talk about onions, we usually mean onions. The onion family is extremely diverse, it has about 600 species, more than 10 in culture. One of the most valuable cultivated onions is the leek.
This type of onion is widespread in many countries. The chemical composition of the leek is a living periodic table. Knowing how to grow leeks, you can get rid of many diseases. This onion was widely used in cooking and as a remedy by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, its false bleached stems contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates, ascorbic acid, carotene, as well as a whole complex of vitamins – B1, B2, B6, B9, PP. The energy value of leeks is more than twice that of onions. Leek is dominated by trace elements such as potassium, iron, zinc. In addition, it contains elements necessary for a person – nickel, chromium, cobalt, vanadium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, molybdenum, titanium.
Unfortunately, this is still a rare guest in our beds and not every summer resident knows how to grow leeks. Leek is grown mainly for the sake of a bleached false stem – “legs”, formed by leaf sheaths, tightly covering each other and turning into leaves.
Leek can be eaten at any stage of its development. Young leaves are distinguished by their special tenderness and slightly spicy taste, they are good in salad greens.
Leek is used fresh and after heat treatment, as an independent product and as a seasoning or additive in vegetable preparations. It is canned, salted, pickled, dried, frozen.
Fresh frozen or dried leeks are used to prepare a wide variety of delicious dishes.
Bleached false stem – “leg” is well preserved in the sand until spring. At the same time, the content of ascorbic acid in it not only does not decrease, but even increases.
How to grow leeks the right way
In order to obtain a consistently high yield of leek, it is necessary to know and fulfill the requirements of this crop to various environmental factors. In this case, the correct planting will determine the success or failure of the grower.
Leek makes high demands on lighting. Like all onions, it does not tolerate acidic soils. For its cultivation, an area with a close occurrence of groundwater or subject to flooding in the spring with melt water is unsuitable. More than others, this type of onion needs fertile, loose, rich in organic matter soils. Therefore, a bed for it has been prepared since autumn, 8-10 kg on the 1 sq. meter organic fertilizers, 0.5-2 kg lime materials and 45-55 gnitrophoska. Leek is grown mainly through seedlings, sowing seeds in boxes or pots on March 10-15. The day before sowing, soak the seeds in water and change it periodically. The soil for sowing seedlings is prepared from soddy land, peat or humus and sand in a ratio of 1: 1: 0.2. Seeds are sown in rows after 45 cm to the depth 1 cmand cover with a loose mixture. After that, water from a watering can with a fine spray so as not to blur the rows. Before germination, the container is covered with a film or glass and placed in a place where the temperature is at the level of 20-25 °. After germination, the film or glass is removed, and the plants are placed where the temperature during the day is 18-20 °, at night 10-12 °. Seedlings during cultivation are fed twice with a solution containing1 l water 1 g ammonium nitrate and 1.5 gpotassium sulfate; Water regularly without over-wetting the soil. Seedlings in pre-moistened grooves are planted in the 1-2 decade of May. Before planting, the leaves and roots are shortened by 1/3. It is advisable to dip the roots in a creamy earthen mash – this will ensure their better survival. It is also important to observe the following rule: when planting, the growth point (heart) should be 1-1.5 cm-it is very important! Distance between plants in a row -15-20 cm, between rows – 35-40 cm. The first top dressing 10-12 days after planting (10 g ammonium nitrate for 10 lwater). For the second, a mullein solution is used (2 l on the 1 sq. m). For the third – foliar – urea solution (0.5 g on the 1 lwater). They are sprayed with plants in the phase of 5-6 leaves. During the growing season, the plants are spudded 3-4 times – this contributes to the formation of longer bleached “legs” of the leek and improves its taste.
Leek is harvested at the end of September, its harvesting ends at the beginning of October. Before laying for the winter (who has a cellar), the roots and leaves are shortened by 1/4 part, the plants are set at an angle and each row is sprinkled with sand. The optimum storage temperature for leeks is 0-5°C, humidity 80-85%. In such conditions, the leek is perfectly preserved until April. If you do not have a cellar, leeks can be stored until a certain time on the balcony in plastic bags with holes or in the refrigerator. In the south, the leek winters without losses and in the soil without shelter. In the middle lane, in our conditions, plants left on the beds should be spudded with earth or peat, shortening their leaves by 1/3 before that.
Leek can also be grown from seeds, sowing them in the ground, before winter, with the onset of stable cold weather, in pre-prepared ridges. In this case, the seeds are not soaked. Onions grown from seeds are harvested in the fall of the following year. You can also sow in the summer (in the second decade of June). In this case, the plants leave for the winter, forming 4-5 true leaves. For better wintering, they are spudded. The harvest is received in late summer – early autumn of the next year.
What else is useful for leeks
The low content of essential oils, which give the onion a sharpness, makes the leek a valuable product in the diet. The high sugar content in digestible form makes it suitable for diabetic patients. Due to the significant content of potassium, this vegetable helps to activate metabolism, remove excess cholesterol from the body, which prevents atherosclerosis, and also enhances the body’s defense reactions and improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Leek improves appetite and digestion, has a beneficial effect on the activity of the gallbladder and liver, and has a diuretic property. Recommended for gout, rheumatism, obesity, useful for salt deposition, kidney stone disease. Therefore, this type of onion can rightly be called the king among onions.