Gosh thanks, Jim. I've been lucky to hang out with some great gardeners and cooks over the years. When it comes to leeks, that means Binda Colebrook, author of Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest. She taught me that, despite what I've heard many times, the smaller thinner leeks aren't necessarily better tasting than the big stubby ones. More depends on varieties and growing conditions. I know that a number of the thinner types are bred for a shorter season--early spring planting for summer harvest. I don't bother with those as there is so much competition for garden space in a short western Washington summer and we can always eat scallions then.
I value leeks as a winter vegetable, and that means the slower-growing, denser varieties that won't freeze out. I usually plant in February for harvest next November through March or April when they bolt to seed. I've been saving my seed and I don't actually remember what I started with (don't tell Binda that; she's much better than I am about keeping good records) , but probably it was Giant Musselburgh. They get massive in good soil. I do know that the garden books I read when I started with leeks told me to hill up the soil around the plants as they grow to blanch the stalks, since it's the white part that we really want to eat. I decided that's way too much work, so I dig a little trench and transplant my starts into that. Then I just fill in the trench as the plants get taller. Way easier and it works just as well.
I love leeks--in soup, grilled, in stir fries, in kim chee, in salads like green onions. I own a whole cookbook devoted to leeks.