I can't resist a vegetable with a possible story behind it, especially an ancient one. You know this already.
So, I did what any modern-day gardener would do. I googled them. That there internet is a wealth of information, I say. I don't know why it hasn't caught on yet. My tongue is in my cheek, by the way.
I zoned in on the search results, and what I found out fascinated me. Leeks are a three thousand year-old vegetable hailing from the ancient Mesopotamian area, and were widely grown in Egypt. Ah-ha! That's where I'd heard about them. Leeks were what the occasionally fickle Israelites were yearning for as they wandered around in the desert after miraculously escaping slavery in Egypt. Those must have been some good tasting leeks they had back there by those pyramids, considering the miraculous provision of manna they were overlooking! I was suddenly glad I was going to get to taste some. (Leeks, not manna. Although I'm keeping my eye out for manna seeds--you never know what you'll run across around here.)
I read on, intrigued by this ancient plant. Some of the info I already knew, like the fact that
leeks are a root vegetable similar to a green onion, although they are much milder in flavor. They're more subtle, you could say. As with all root vegetables, the edible portion of a leek is grown below ground. Bulbs are planted in the same manner as an onion, yet instead of forming a round bulb at the roots, they grow more as a stalk.
Yep. That's what mine were doing. So far so good. Now what I needed to know was when to pull them up...and then I saw it. The phrase every gardener who's in the midst of the whirlwind of harvest-time loves to hear: This plant will overwinter in place. Aaahh. Music to my ears...or eyes, since I happened to be reading.
In explanation, leeks are cold tolerant plants. They don't mind staying in the ground as the weather turns frigid, and for the better part of the winter, you can just store them right there where they grew. Wow! I think I fell in love right then and there. Here was an old-world vegetable grown since ancient times that required absolutely no summer maintenance, and could be stored right in the garden all winter long without spoiling.
That's my kind of plant! Okay, Israelites, I get it. You did have it good...except for the slavery part. Hmm. Maybe God knew what He was doing.
And now I knew what I was doing...absolutely nothing! I went about my garden cleanup, and instead of digging the leeks and storing them with the rest of my harvest, I left them alone. Well, I did mound up some straw around them, just to add a bit of extra insulation.
I'm cautious by nature. Some might say paranoid, but I just ignore it.
And just like the ancient Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land, when I run out of leeks, I'll be longing for more. Thankfully, the seed store is not far away--I can get there in under forty years.