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Leek Seedlings

Commercial Propagation of Leeks from Seedlings in South Africa   Leeks are related to onions and as such, the farming of leeks entails some of the same propagation practices as with onions. However, leeks are quite sensitive plants and it is therefore important to follow best practices in terms of growing them from leek seedlings. Unlike onions, leeks do not have bulbs and as such, harvesting can be done early on. Leeks have white stems just beneath the soil with leaves grouped in a tight roll. Leek seedlings can be eaten, but for commercial farming purposes, it is best to grow the plant to maturity. Soil Requirements   Leek seedlings should be transplanted to medium loam soil. Soil drainage is important and the soil must be rich in nutrients. They do not grow well in rough sand, as the grains become trapped in the parts of the plant that are beneath the surface of the soil and this affects their quality and the taste of the vegetable. Heavy clay soil should also be avoided, as the clay causes staining on the white stems of the plants and this affects the marketability of the plants.   It is recommended that farmers wishing to propagate leeks from seedlings first perform a soil analysis to identify the pH, nutrient, and trace-element levels of the soil. The ideal pH ranges from 6,5 to 7. If the pH is below 6, it is necessary to add lime to raise it. To this end, some planning will be required before ordering the plants. If lime has to be added, it must be done two months before transplanting the seedlings. One month before transplanting, the farmer can add trace elements such as manganese, zinc, and boron, as well as compost in the upper part of the soil. Disc harrowing must be done to till the topsoil, ensuring that the transplant area is clean. Pre-planting fertiliser should be administered seven days before transplanting the plants. The tillage at this stage also helps to remove weeds. The final step is to irrigate the soil lightly.   Climate Requirements   Leek seedlings perform well in cool weather in temperatures of higher than 11 °C but lower than 26 °C. The plants do not perform well in high temperatures, as maturation takes place too fast. Though the leeks have good frost resistance, prolonged and excessive cold weather causes a slow-down in their growth. Propagating from seedlings provides better uniformity and final stand and ensures early harvest potential.   Get in touch with Hishtil South Africa for pest- and disease-free leek seedlings suitable for commercial farming purposes in South Africa. They are delivered to farmers across the country.

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