Growing a Garden: Are 30 Leeks Worth It?

Everyone growing a garden probably has their own standard for measuring success. Mine is 30 leeks. Here they are.

I know . . . you can barely see them.

I picked these last few vestiges of last year’s vegetable garden 3 days ago and took this picture after they were washed and cleaned. So what if they look like chives? I’m certainly not going to make an issue of it. And the potato/leek soup I made from them was delicate and delicious believe it or not.

As anyone growing a garden can tell you, doing so is not for the feint of heart. You can pour more money, sweat, tears, and toil into growing a garden than you might into raising a child. Really.

The gorgeous home and property I moved onto a couple of years ago had SIX spectacular raised-bed garden plots. “Made to order, I thought. NOW I will finally be able to have the vegetable and flower gardens I’ve always wanted!”

NOT!! When I got ready to plant I discovered that the harmless little green stuff growing along their edges, which I thought would be easily eradicated, was bindweed — a pernicious plant indeed whose roots go at least a foot deep before veering off sideways to pop up new “little green stuff” over yonder. Bindweed is well named, as it takes over everything and really binds up your plans.

The only solution was to cover those beds in black plastic and let them sit for at least a year to really kill out the bindweed. Alas.

Thus was born a new plan for growing a garden — creating a magical spiral one in the adjacent area that had been cleared and well prepared for the previous owner’s child’s playscape. “Perfect,” I thought. Here it is.

This is the spiral garden, with my expensive master gardener standing in the middle of it, AFTER the following steps were taken:

  • figuring out where it should lie and mapping it out
  • clearing the chippings off said mapped area and into what would be the pathways
  • cutting the underlying weed barrier cloth out where the spiral would be
  • bringing in lovely, rich garden soil which had to be wheelbarrowed to and distributed throughout the spiral
  • amending that lovely, rich garden soil with even more lovely, rich nutrients like cow manure and mushroom compost (mushroom compost?!)
  • installing an intricate drip system throughout the spiral
  • erecting a 3′ chicken-wire, bunny-proof fence around said area
  • laying gravel atop one exposed, unplantable corner
  • planting

All with the help of said master gardener — except that last step. I did the planting myself.

You get the idea. A few weeks and mucho $$$’s later, I was finally in business for growing a garden — ta da! Was it worth it? You be the judge. I took this picture one evening of just one day’s harvest.

We ate, and ate, and ate from our lovely garden. Squashes of several varieties, ditto for tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, chard, onions, carrots, tomatillos, fava beans, okra, cucumbers . . . and, finally, just this week, leeks.

A master gardener myself I am not. I learned a lot from last year’s garden. For one thing that leeks seem to take a long time and after 10 months mine were still tiny. But they were there, holding their little green heads high — after a big snow storm last week. Maybe I planted them too close together. Maybe they don’t like this climate. I’m not sure what went wrong and why they were so stunted, but I decided they deserved a place on our table so dug them all up and did indeed make one of the best soups ever!

So is growing a garden worth it? You bet it is! At least to those of us who value every morsel of organic, homegrown nutrition we can get. We’re ready to go again, in both the spiral garden and whatever parts of the raised beds the bindweed will allow.




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