Allium porrum 'Alto'
3 months to reach maturity
This plant has a mild fragrance
Leeks 'Alto' Overview
Allium porrum 'Alto' has a long fleshy stem with a mild onion taste. A must for the home garden as it can be grown throughout the year in a wide range of soil types, and are relatively untroubled by pest or diseases. Alto leek is great for inexperienced gardeners and those that like low maintenance gardens. Commonly known as Leeks, they are biennials which are grown for their long fleshy stems and strong taste ideal for adding to soups, stews and casseroles or eaten raw as part of a salad. Leek 'Alto' can be sown into seed trays, under glass in late winter and transplant after the last frosts for the best results. As the stems start to grow and mature they can be blanched by mounding up dry soil around them. Your tasty stalks should be ready to be harvested in early autumn, throughout winter and into early spring.
Common problems with Leeks 'Alto'
Leeks 'Alto' Companion Plants
How to harvest Leeks 'Alto'
Plants are lifted with a fork or gently pulled from the ground as needed. Harvest in 120–170 days.
How to propagate Leeks 'Alto'
Sow into seed trays in early Spring and transplant into beds once seedlings are roughly as thick as a pencil. Plant out by making a hole bigger than the seedling, place it into the hole and watering it in - do not fill with soil or firm it in. This way, the roots will spread out as the plant grows and protect it more from toppling in the wind as it gets taller. Direct sowing : after the last frost, sow seeds thinly, 2.5cm (1") apart into drills approx. 0.5cm (1/4") deep, with each drill spaced 15cm (6") apart. Cover the seeds with sifted soil, firm the soil down and water in. Germination should occur within 14 to 21 days and is usually very good. Seedlings will need to be thinned out to leave plants 10cm (4") apart.
Special features of Leeks 'Alto'
Repels harmful insects
The purple to white flowers grow on a tall stem to form a sphere-shape ball.
Plant in beds that have previously been used to grow lettuce, cabbages or peas.
Other uses of Leeks 'Alto'
Culinary. One of the oldest known vegetables with archaeological evidence of it being grown in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000 BCE. Leeks are one of the national symbols of Wales. The story goes that in 640 A.D, King Cadwallader and his Welsh fighters wore the plant on their hats to distinguish themselves from the enemy Saxons and won the battle. In Hebrew, the word for 'leek' is 'karti' which is a pun on another Hebrew word 'yikartu', which means 'to be cut off'. So a Jewish tradition is to eat leeks at Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a wish for enemies to be 'cut off'.
The leaves, flowers and stem are edible and are a great alternative to onions.