Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Colossal Leeks

 I've been drying out a leek seed head from one of my Heritage leeks 'Colossal'.  Not many of this variety around nowadays,  in fact, it is in need of preservation at the Heritage Seed Library. I love letting leeks go on for a second year, and when they flower the bees just love them!  I love to let quite a few veggies go to flower to encourage the pollinating insects, and all of the onion family are a favourite.
 So I cut this seed head just before I left my old garden and brought it home with me to dry out thoroughly.
 You can see that each little flower on the head dries to a seed pod which contains 3 or 4 tiny little black seeds.
 Now I understand why some seed is just so expensive!  In this case I can't think of a mechanical way to separate the chaff from the seed.  Since most commercial seed sold in the UK is grown and produced abroad (mostly China) I assume they employ cheap labour to do what I spent yesterday afternoon doing!
So I have quite a good quantity of this 'Colossal' heritage leek seed to give away.  It needs sharing so this old variety is not lost forever.  It is a brilliant, healthy leek that stands well over Autumn and Winter.  If you want some seed, then please contact me via email giving me your name and address and I will send you some!


At 3:05 PM, Blogger Mark Willis said...

Does it not have to be grown in controlled conditions to preserve its "heritage" character? If you leave the leeks to flower, I suppose there is a risk of cross-pollination.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Awfulknitter said...

Delurking for a moment (I've been a reader for a while, but not a commenter). Have you tried winnowing the chaff out? I do this when I break open cardamom pods for the seeds for cooking. I put the seeds and chaff in a bowl, stand by the open back door, and blow gently across (not into) the bowl while giving it a slight side to side shake. Most of the chaff floats off, and what's left is usually the larger, heavier pieces that are easy to pick out. It's a quick learning curve as to how hard (and at what angle) to blow and how hard to shake the bowl - but a first practice with the bowl on a table and a tea towel spread out helps if you get it too wrong and end up blowing the seeds off along with the chaff!

At 10:18 AM, Blogger kate samways said...

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At 11:48 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Kate Samways - I will get some leek seeds off to you at the address you provided xx Sarah


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