Leeks are a delicious and versatile vegetable, a member of the onion family, which grows native along the Mediterranean. Leeks are used in a number of different dishes and can be roasted, fried, braised, and boiled. In this article, we’ll break down the best ways to regrow leeks from scraps – in a glass of water or in soil.
Much of the time, when purchased from your local grocery store, you’ll notice that the leeks you buy have a small root ball at the base. Most people just chop these off and discard them. But if you do that, you’re pretty much throwing out free leeks!
That’s right! If you plant those root balls, more leeks will grow out the top. Regrowing leeks is incredibly easy. Let’s look at a couple ways to do it.
How to regrow leeks in a glass of water
One of the easier ways to regrow leeks is simply placing them in a small cup of water. This method is simple – all you need is a glass, some fresh water, and a sunny window, or at least a south-facing window with bright, natural light.
When cutting the leeks, cut down to where the green leaves meet the white stalk. Then, place that stalk with the roots in the water and the stem poking up. You don’t want to submerge the entire stalk! This could cause rot and kill your leek cutting.
You’ll want to replace the water every few days to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in the water.
Regrowing leeks in a glass of water is simple and straight forward and requires basically no effort, but growing plants only in water isn’t the best long-term solution. Plants need nutrients from healthy soil, and that includes leeks. You can grow your leeks in a glass of water for a while, perhaps a few months, but I advise eventually planting your leeks in soil.
Regrowing leeks in soil
Leeks are one of my favorite plants to grow because of how hardy they are and how much abuse they can take. Leeks are frost tolerant and, in zones 7 and warmer, can actually overwinter and continue producing healthy food all year round.
Leeks will gladly grow planted right in the ground or in a container. If you live in one of the warmer zones mentioned above, just plant your leeks in your garden for a free supply of leeks! If your zone is 6 or colder, planting leeks in a container is likely the right choice for you – that way you can bring them indoors and place in a sunny window.
Planting leeks in containers
Picking the right size pot for your leek scraps is vital to helping them grow adequately. Their roots will need enough space so to avoid becoming root bound. You’ll want to pick a pot at least 18 inches deep. Your leeks could potentially survive in a smaller pot, but a less than ideal pot could result in a leek plant that dies prematurely.
Fill your pot with quality potting soil – ideally specialized for growing vegetables. Once filled, create a hole deep enough to cover the root ball of the leek scrap. Cover with soil and give it some water. Your leeks will want to grow in full sun but can do okay with bright light from a south facing window or in partial shade outdoors. Leeks are pretty relaxed as far as vegetables go but they do enjoy moist, but not soaking wet, soil. You’ll probably want to water every few days, possibly more if you live in a dry climate.
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