Vichyssoise – the Begining

This famous leek and potato soup starts with planting the leeks and potatoes.  I did that on Sunday. Leeks have become a favorite garden vegetable, because they are edible, from the garden, for more than half the year.  Long-season crops have a tendency to get big and produce a lot of food – leeks are no exception.  And they grow all winter long!  Compare the photo below with those same poor plants in the middle of winter when the cutworms were after them.

Here is a crop where the new seedlings are in the ground and the year-old plants are still providing food. Long season crops naturally lend themselves to seed saving. The old leeks are starting to develop flower stalks, so it’s time to either gobble them up or plan on raising seed.

I plant the starts in a trench about six inches deep, with a shovel of compost in the bottom. As the leeks grow, the dirt is filled in around them. The idea is to get a longer blanched stalk. The trench is not really necessary, but it’s the traditional method for leeks.

Leeks and onions are very easy and satisfying to start from seed. You can plant the seeds fairly thickly in a starting tray or six-pack. A single six-pack planted the row above. It’s getting late to seed onions at this point — they need to size up before fall — but you can find starts at the farmers market. Leeks can still be started from seed for another month or so.


  1. Gary- great to see what you are up to. These beautiful days have got me in the garden too. Just picked up 2 six-packs of onion starts today. Your leeks look beautiful. I am interested in seeing how you plant your potatoes.

    1. Hi Lexa, This weekend was great for garden work! Just put in a dozen hills of squash! (Hope I didn’t jump the gun.) Nothing fancy for the potatoes. We don’t eat a lot of them – Ellen likes to minimize carbs, and she’s the cook! I grew a few Kennebecs last year and had a few seed potatoes saved out that were making long sprouts. They went in, and so did four little indeterminate red potatoes – an old Oregon heirloom variety – that I got at a seed swap.

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