They are one of my favourite plants in the veggie garden, hardy as anything, good looking and as mentioned previously, very drought hardy. I picked up a small punnet of about half a dozen or so shanks at a local plant sale about 2 years ago and have not wanted for leeks since! Seriously, once you have these little guys in your garden, you too will be as attached to them as I!
Some people like to harvest their leeks by cutting the shank just below ground level and leaving the roots in the ground to grow another shank. I can understand harvesting this way with more specialty varieties/annuals, but to be honest, I pull the whole leek up, roots and all. This variety of leek produces so many offsets that there are always plenty around waiting to be transplanted. Just take a look...
Above, the mama leek (left) with her babies. The mama leek is still of a small size, so if I was to dig this clump up, I would pull out the mama and transplant her to continue growing, along with her offspring, spaced about 10-15cm apart...
And here, another mama leek (right), and her offspring...can you see what I mean about them being generous?
This is what the clump looks like after digging up...all the little ones are ready to be planted out singularly. This clump produced about twenty little leeks! I usually wait until the mama is of reasonable harvesting size before digging the clump, although she can always be re-planted to fatten up a little more if a little on the small size. The baby leeks need to be dropped into a 10-15cm hole made with a twig or 'dibbler', then just simply watered in. Neglect will still yield a crop, although a little TLC in the form of watering, manure and mulch will reward you with thicker, whiter shanks. Approximately three months later, the leeks will be of a harvestable size and will hold well in the garden, sitting there happily for months until required. Never let a leek form flower, as although a beautiful feature, it will render the leek inedible. This is good news, as this type of leek seems reluctant to form flowers..in my experience anyway.
If you can manage to track down some perennial leeks, I would highly recommend growing them. They haven't dissapointed me yet and don't seem to attract any pests or diseases. In fact, Alliums (the onion family), are reputed to be good companions for growing alongside carrots as they repel carrot fly. It's always great to have a little bonus, isn't it?
And on a totally different topic, here is a little elephant that the 8 year old and I made together today. The pattern came from a library book: "Toys to Sew" by Claire Garland and was a fun little project for the holidays. She's really happy with it and managed to do quite a bit of handsewing on her own, along with the ironing and a little machine sewing. It has been named "Marli" after the baby elephant at the Melbourne Zoo!
"Marli the elephant", made by the eight year old.