Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating.

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Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Do you grow leeks? Would you like to grow leeks? They are a hardy crop, standing with patience and fortitude in the ground, month in, month out, waiting to be plucked. Tolerant of the cold and ice, they are a welcome treat in the depths of winter or as tender young things in the summer. I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learnt along the way, plus some tried and tested family recipes.

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

It is February and thoughts are turning to this year’s growing season. My granddaughter and I have been sowing leeks this week. One of the earliest crops to get underway. They will grow in pots indoors or a propagator and then go into the greenhouse to grow on during early Spring.  

Sow your leeks early in the season, Feb – April. Then sow again later in the year, to allow for a succession of crops. Read more about planting in succession here:
Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Start your leeks off in a deep pot – they like to send their roots deep down. This will help strong plants to grow. Just sprinkle on top of seed compost, and then cover with a fine layer. Pop somewhere fairly warm: a propagator, warm windowsill or sunny greenhouse once winter’s chill is over.

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Don’t be tempted to put too many in the seed tray, or you’ll end up with far too many and they’ll be all choked up. We’ve been a bit heavy-handed with our seed sprinkling – you might want to give them a bit more breathing room than we have here!



Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Once your seedlings are large enough to handle – you need a good bit of growth at the top, tease them gently apart, and plant out in the veggie plot using a dibber or stick to make deep holes (about 15-20 cm deep). Don’t you just love that word, dibber. It instantly conjures up memories of helping my grandad in his garden. I have my lovely son to thank for making me my dibber. If you don’t have a dibber, find a stout stick! Pop your seedling in the hole and fill with water from a watering can. Plant with enough space so you can get a hoe in between rows to keep the weeds down later on That’s all there is to it!

You will be rewarded with delicious, nutritious leeks to feed yourselves and your families.

Here are some tried and tested recipes the family have loved here at Bridge Cottage. They all serve a family of four, so scale down for smaller portions. We are meat eaters, so have included bacon in the Leek and Bacon pudding, but feel free to leave it out.

Top tip – when washing leeks, slit the tops with a deep cross and hold upside down under running water, teasing out layer to get all the soil out. Nowt worse than a crunch of grit when you munch!

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Looking at Leeks: Growing and Eating

Cheesy Leek Gratin


4 large leeks

25g butter

½  tbsp plain flour

Approx. 1 pt milk

100g cheddar cheese

2 handfuls breadcrumbs*

Fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)

*(whizz up some stale crusts in a food processor – top tip: keep a bag in the freezer so you never have to throw away stale bread)


Wash the leeks well, and chop into chunks. Sauté in the butter for a couple of mins until just tender. Stir in the flour, and then add milk a little at a time until you have the consistency of double cream. Add grated cheddar and season with salt and pepper. Pour into an overproof dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs with chopped parsley, season and place on top of the leeks. Bake in a medium over for 10 minutes, or until breadcrumbs brown.

Leek & Bacon Pudding


125g / 5 oz wholewheat flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

50g / 20z shredded suet

2 chopped leeks

3-4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped

1 tsp mixed fresh herbs or ½ tsp dried

I medium egg


Mix together flour, baking powder, suet, leeks, bacon, herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Mix with egg, adding a little milk if necessary, to make a soft dropping consistency (so mixture drops off spoon when held aloft)

Grease a 600ml/1 pint pudding basin and put in a piece of greaseproof or parchment paper to just cover the bottom.

Put pudding mixture in basin. Cover with greaseproof paper and foil and tie with string.

Steam for 1 ½ hours. If you don’t have a steamer, place a saucer in the bottom of a large pan, and cover with boiling water. Place pudding on saucer and put lid on pan, topping up water when necessary.

Serve with parsley sauce.

Sue Reed writes for the Bridge Cottage Way

Sue Reed writes for the Bridge Cottage Way

There are, of course, lots of other recipes for leeks – we love a leek risotto, or that old favourite, leek and potato soup. 

As ever, we’d love you to share your thoughts, either by leaving a comment here or on our social media pages, where this article will be shared.

You can find the Bridge Cottage Way on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.







You might enjoy some of the writing and ideas in other sections of this website, as we look towards leading more sustainable lives by growing our own food and creating dishes in line with seasonal eating, or head to our handy ‘Month by Month’ guides to find out what we have been doing here at Bridge Cottage as the months go by:

Many thanks for reading.

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Tim & Sue in the Bridge Cottage Way garden

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