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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Leeks of Wonder!

Midland Leek Show 2009 Pictures, Images and Photos

I was over HERE yesterday, spilling the beans on a Grizz-and-Fhina type of secret! Please call in if you have time - to witness yet more mum-humiliation, Grizz-stylee...

And...

I need to share - Lord Preserve Me!

I have joined our local pub's Leek Club...

I was brought up in a post-industrial town of leeks and whippets, coal and toil, and I'd never, (nor have any of my family to my knowledge), grown a leek.

My granda' once took me to our local Working Men's Club in North Seaton to see the, (I understand, world-famous,) Leek Show there and to enjoy some of the spoils of the produce - tasty Leek and Potato Soup, and I was blown away by the vastness of the vegetables on display... I'm not kidding you! Carrots the thickness of your wrists, leeks the size of a Strong-Man's thigh, turnips that could double as tables... Really.

And GJ and I have been going to our local pub, way out in the wilding, wintry moors of Northumberland, over the past few years once a week, on and off, and we wondered about the great intrigue and enchanting secrets of the fabled and sacred Leek Club for which we have been buying raffle tickets to raise funds for ages...

And late this summer, the air scented with leeky, onion-like smells and success, we walked in through the portal of the scarce-used Leek Club Shed (circa 1940) to view the Show Leeks.

Midland Leek Show 2009 Pictures, Images and Photos

They were beautiful. Practically perfect. Blanched-white and wondrous. Awe-inspiring, with dark emerald-cast leaves and beautiful button-shaped bases and snow-white squid-like tendrils. I was swept away by what could be achieved by a few (predominantly octogenarian) men and women in their spare time.

And then I saw the glittering prizes - Freezers and designer vacuum cleaners, top-class wellies and a Dualit toaster and kettle and I was distracted by the shiny, and signed up my name to join the club, prepared to show my three prize leeks in Autumn 2010.

To be honest, I also wanted to give the lovely, (seriously substitute Fhina-dad), landlord George, a great big laugh at my paltry efforts. And I thought, if push came to shove, I could just buy some leeks at the supermarket. Not so!

Two pot leeks Pictures, Images and Photos

Lawd help me! I don't know where to start...

At present, I am on the hunt for baby leeks, called 'sets', apparently - I made many folk laugh when I started gibbering on about "Baby Leeks!"

And, in my capacious hand-made Karina Hesketh handbag, I've a hand-drawn Mappa Leekie from someone at work I barely know, showing a (probably non-existent), secret allotment site where apparently I've to knock three times on a paint-spattered door and ask for 'Norman'.

I just know I'm taking my life in my hands. Sssshhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Any hints and tips, my green-fingered Bloggeros and Bloggeristas??! Pretty-please!

And if you want to know more about the cold northern climes and the traditions and science of leek-growing, you need go no further than this wonderful article: CLICKIE from Dr Clive Dalton and Mr Tony Wright - This has to be a definitive, historically comprehensive and heart-warming article.

Many thanks for allowing me to reference it, bold Sirs! And if I don't see you at the weekend, I'll see you through the Leek!

leeks Pictures, Images and Photos

16 comments:

Oh My Goddess said...

I never knew about this! Very interesting. I love to eat them, but somehow they look so lovely I should think twice.

Gigi said...

I'm assuming a leek is kinda like an onion (yes, showing my ignorance here....)

Don't know much about it; but if you throw Miracle-Gro on it - it should help.

At least that's what I do with my flowers....

blognut said...

Oh my goodness! There is a club for everything, isn't there?!

I'm pretty sure Blognuts do not eat leeks, but I'll try one and get back to you on that.

Bloggus
XXOOXX

Meggie said...

I just adore leeks!! I regard them as definitely one of my Life's Free treats--- except they cost the earth here at times, & I would never dream of trying to grow one, since all my garden dreams of this spring have amounted to zilch. I do wish you well, & they are a vegetable with such a truly subtle flavour they are precious!!

Chairman Bill said...

Ah, but does size matter as much as taste?

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

so Fhina has finally gone to ground, in a way l wouldnt have guessed...leeks eh..thats a lot of soup babe!!

Z said...

I've never tried to grow prize leeks, only ordinary ones, but a lot of preparation is needed. If you're just growing them for eating, you make a good deep (several inches) hole with the end of a crowbar or a long dibber, drop the leek in the hole and, without filling it in, water into the hole. They pretty well look after themselves after that. But that's no good for competitive growing. When you look at the length of the white parts of those leeks, they were made in very long holes.

You don't plant them now, get the seed and start them off in February or so. Some growers start them in the greenhouse and pot them on to give them a really good start. If you do that, don't water them with freshly drawn water but let it warm to greenhouse temperature. When you're going to plant them out, start by digging a trench, then put in some really good compost at the bottom and fork it in, then dib your holes and plant the leeks. As they grow, start to earth them up. Eventually, you'll have a mound instead of a trench. How you dig them up without breaking them is another thing again, I've no idea.

Regular feeding is needed and protection against pests so that the tops are perfect too. They also need a lot of water, but I'm in East Anglia so we don't actually get regular rain; it may not be a problem for you.

jinksy said...

Are you sure you don't have leeking- er, leaking (?) water on the brain? LOL :)

Clippy Mat said...

ahh the amazing world of leeks and leek trenches. takes me back. where's me flat cap? it's the prizes, you are so right. they're amazing.
the stuff that people put on them to make them grow. ugh. but that's probably illegal now i'm sure.
good luck
:-)

Bagman and Butler said...

The best thing about blogspot is that your never know what you are going to learn each morning! Everything I ever wanted to know about leeks!

Suldog said...

This is truly fascinating. I had no idea. Those are the most amazing leeks I've ever seen.

Expat mum said...

OMG - leeks are so Expensive here and when I grew up they were almost the poor man's food. I love them - delicately sautee'd in with yer mashed potatoes.
My uncle and grandad used to enter the St Columbus Church (Wallsend) competition every year and vie for 1st and 2nd place. They were massive. One of my worst memories was when we took our new puppy to grandma and grandad's one Saturday (as you did) and the little sod dug up all the leeks the week before the competition.

Derrick said...

Fhina leeks, whatever next? I'm sure you'll be a dab hand at it as with all the endeavours upon which you embark. Can't offer any insights though - but I do enjoy eating them!

French Fancy said...

Oh Fhi I love it when you go away from your usual style of iconic images and tributes to the good and the great.I like to find out more about you and now I'll be able to imagine you down on your hands and knees (watch the back, get a kneeling stool) talking to those little leeks growing away. Here's to some white goods for you in the future - and not just the leeks!

x

Kate said...

Good luck taking your leeks

(Sorry terrible I know!)

Kate xxx

karina said...

Hi, just to let you know that your leeks have inspired some applique work for my spring bags, sounds wierd, but they have such beautiful shaped tops!! In the meantime I am putting the last of my Xmas stock in a sale from tomorrow...love reading your blog, very eclectic! Best wishes and happy Christmas, Karina
(Write a book....)

Something I wrote earlier...

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