Fifty-seven leek plants

Last Sunday we planted fifty-seven baby leeks on our veggie patch, which is a plot of ground that we tend in our local community garden club, just five minutes’ walk from home. The week before we put up the bean poles and planted a stack of runner beans, together with spinach, Swiss chard (otherwise known as silver beet) rocket (or arugula) and bitter greens.

 We get great pleasure growing at least some of our own veggies, but waiting to see how the tender plants do out in the big cruel world is a time of high emotion and drama. When the little babies go into the soil I feel like a general sending troops into war, with the enemy troops of slugs, snails and pigeons massed on the border. Our organic counter-strategies are carefully planned – stocking up with sacks of coffee grounds from our local cafe, and collecting plastic bottles, are the main defences. The coffee grounds get heaped around plants; even sometimes scattered on the leaves in desperation. The plastic bottles are cut into rings, and slid into the earth to form barriers.  Some slugs and snails can deal easily with both of those – but the pigeons can’t peck plants through netting, so we use that as well.

What I love most at this stage is seeing those little plants galloping away up the poles or spreading their leaves or branching out, doing exactly what they were born to do. It’s a simple but satisfying pleasure. Good luck, little leeks. 

2 Responses to “Fifty-seven leek plants”

  1. Jim Hoekema Says:

    Good job with the leeks! How nice to have patch in the community garden. Does it ever get competitive there?
    I don’t have land now that I’m in a condo, but the Historical Society entrusted me with an heirloom tomato plant. It’s like an unwanted pet – I don’t really want the responsibility, but I can let it die either, so I keep watering it, and it keeps living of all things! I think today I’d better go get a proper pot and some juicy dirt for it.
    – Jim (Hudson Valley, NY)

  2. admin Says:

    I believe gardening is definitely a competitive sport – but our community garden is mostly divided between those who grow flowers and the veggie people, who are themselves divided in two: the Bengalis, who are so good at growing veggies they’re practically professionals, and the rest of us struggling amateurs. We have immaculate Bengali gardens on either side of our slightly scruffy plot, and we do our best to keep up with them. Sometimes they sweetly take pity on us and give us plants or bunches of herbs – and plot-holders all water their neighbors’ plots if they’re away. I envy you your heirloom tomato, Jim: we’re not doing tomatoes this year because we always seem to get tomato blight.

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