I love leeks. Their sturdy, cold hardy upright growth which shines in the fall garden. Their flavor that adds a subtle and nutty onion taste to soups, stir fries and other dishes. I’ve grown them as long as I’ve gardened, favouring the kinds that turn blue in cool weather like a seed selection by the Long Island Seed Project that included the heirloom Blue solaise. So when my crop was devastated by leek moth – an introduced leaf miner moth pest of alliums – I didn’t want to give up hope. And then someone told me about a leek that was resistant and perennial called Oerprei.
Oerprei means ancient or old leek. Instead of forming one swath of leaves, it forms a dividing clump analogous to a green onion instead of a bulbing onion. Dividing and individually planting out these slender, baby leeks allows them to grow larger.
At the same time, I also noticed that the LISP blue select tended to offset or perennialize. Various leeks will grow pearl leeks off the main stem after flowering that can be harvested before flowering the following year. I let my Oerprei and my leek blue select cross out of curiousity. It produced a set of vigorous plants with often blue coloration in the cold. We’ll see how they develop in terms of winter hardiness and perenniality over the next few years.
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.