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Commercial Farming of Leek Seedlings

Interesting Tips on the Commercial Farming of Leek Seedlings


Commercial farming from leek seedlings, as with any other commercial crop growing, should not be attempted if the farmer does not have the necessary equipment, sufficient growth area, and the right stock. It is imperative to purchase leek seedlings from well-established and trusted nurseries that specifically grow seedlings for supply to farmers as the plants must be disease and pest free to minimise the risk of crop losses and poor yield capacity.

More About the Vegetables

Leeks are vegetables from the same plant family as onions. The plants are popular for use in soups, starters, stews, and stir fry dishes. The plants have a milder taste than onions, making them well-suited for raw usage in dishes. Unlike onions that have large bulbs, leeks have small white bulbs while the upper part of the plants consist of edible green foliage. When sold fresh, the plants are usually sold in bunches. As the vegetables have a strong aroma, it is best to package them in plastic if stored with other vegetables in a fridge to prevent the rest of the fresh produce from absorbing part of the odour.

It is recommended that farmers enquire about the varieties available when they order the seedlings from the nurseries. The days to maturity differ according to the variety planted. The varieties also vary in their ability to tolerate cold. For one, the early types are fast growers and can normally be harvested in the last part of the summer or in the early fall period. This type does not have the best cold tolerance.

Germinated seedlings - Leek Seedlings

The mid-season types are normally harvested during the fall season and they have reasonable tolerance to cold growth conditions. The late types can be harvested in the last part of the fall season or early winter as these plants have the best tolerance for cold conditions. The latter type can be left in the field for harvesting as required if grown in a mild climate area.

Farmers wanting to commercially propagate leeks from seedlings for supply to the market throughout the year can do so if they grow the vegetables in greenhouse facilities and by growing early, mid-season, and late season leeks. If they do so, they can harvest the early variety, then the mid-season types followed by the late variety.

The harvested vegetables can be stored for days to weeks if the roots and tops are trimmed and the plant outer leaves removed. Once done, it is best to store the plants at 0°C with a humidity of around 95%. Where the farmer does not have freezers, they can store the plants in a root cellar once the tops have been trimmed and any spoiled leaves have been removed. If stored in this way, the farmer must not remove the roots, as the plants must be stored in an upright position with their roots submerged in a mixture of sand, peat, and moist soil. Before selling, remove the roots and outer leaves.

Where to Buy Leek Seedlings?

Hishtil SA delivers pest- and disease-free leek seedlings for commercial propagation to farmers throughout South Africa.