A Very Messy Leek Lesson

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A third lockdown for England was announced by the Prime Minister on Monday which comes as no surprise given the infection/death rate statistics and concern over the new virus strain. Allotments are classed as a form of exercise which means plot holders are permitted to use them, the very nature of allotments means close proximity to others can be avoided but of course we should still be sensible. I don’t know how often I will visit the plot because the weather has taken a wintry turn, no snow here in Bedfordshire yet but it’s certainly cold enough. It’s just nice to know I can go to my allotment if I want to, I feel very lucky to have it.

I did visit over the weekend to clear the leeks and it was a horrible job, most of the leeks were just soggy mush under ground and covered in allium leaf miner cocoons (yuk), the rest were formed but in a sorry state and not fit for eating even though they looked fine from above ground. On reflection I should have pulled the lot when I first realised the problem rather than leaving the ‘good ones’ in the ground in the hope they would recover from allium leaf miner and leek moth attack.

Soup anyone?
Allium leaf miner cocoon
Allium leaf miner cocoon on my finger for size comparison
Mushy leek
Visible cocoons of the allium leaf miner fly buried inside the stem of the leek
Don’t be fooled. this leek was full of hidden horrors!

I will now avoid growing the allium family in that particular section of the plot for a while, certainly not this year. I removed as many of the cocoons as possible from the soil along with the damaged leeks and took everything home with me to burn.

Going forward I will use a very fine mesh to cover leeks from the moment of planting, probably Enviromesh or similar. Apologies if the photos gross you out, it’s not something I find pleasure in photographing I can assure you! Hopefully you’ll never experience this, but sadly the two leek pests I mention in this blog post are becoming more widespread and our allotment site is now very hit and miss with leek growing without protection.

Stay safe, wrap up warm and carry on gardening (if you can) x

11 comments on “A Very Messy Leek Lesson”

  1. Poor you – that’s such a shame – I’ve not heard of this problem before and will definitely be looking more closely at our leeks this weekend … xxx

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  2. I feel your pain!! My leeks are fine (if still pencil-sized!), but I lost every single one of 33 various tomato plants back in the summer – the joys of a Devonian summer, warm & very wet, resulting in blight 😟
    Lesson learned for this coming season – tomatoes stay indoors!

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  3. I have the same story here, the first time our leeks have failed. It is one crop we grow a lot of and need and so it really is upsetting. Like you, next year I’ll plant out under some fine netting

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  4. I agree with what you say about allotments. Shame about the leeks, they’re not not something I grow.
    Thanks, and you too. It’s either been too cold or wet to do more than potter recently. xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty, hopefully this year will be my year for great leeks! I do love them in warming winter soups. I think my dad has done better than me, his plot is way over the other side of the allotment site and they look promising. Yes it’s rather chilly so just pottering for me too this week, there’s a 50% chance of snow here tomorrow according to my weather app! xx

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  5. Oh, how disappointing. A lot of my plot is down to rhubarb, not sure how much time I will get in the new job. Looks like another year of using the plot to leave the house.

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