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Perennial Clumping Multiplier Leek  RSS feed

 
Posts: 177
Location: NNSW Australia
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This one has a few common names, Perennial leek, most commonly in Australia.
However I notice that a lot of users on permies.com call the Elephant Garlic a 'perennial leek' as well.

The clumping/multiplier leek is a great producer in my subtropical climate.
It doesn't set seed at all, just sprouts new leeks constantly from the base.



It's such a permie plant - rip up a clump with a mature leek, rip off all the sprouts (doesn't matter if you lose most of the roots), cast them into the aerated soil and tamp it down (or don't).
The harvesting is automatically the time for division and re-planting.


Like ordinary leeks, they're quite happy to grow in clumps.
But unlike ordinary leeks, these will grow without any real soil prep - dig them straight into unimproved clay and they'll tough it out.
I stopped watering and mulching my gardens for a few years, these leeks were one of the few plants to survive the transition.

I bought 4 tiny multiplier leeks from eBay many years ago and spent the first few seasons focusing on dividing them to increase the stock.
The quicker you divide them, the quicker you can divide the divisions and so on.
Now I have hundreds in and out of the gardens and plenty to eat and give away.
They taste as good as any other variety of leek that's been home-grown.
You don't have to harvest at a certain time, it stores fine in the garden long after it reaches it's maximum size - the garden just becomes like a larder full of 'ready and waiting' produce.
The strappy leaves make a bug-repelling 'sheet' mulch and when slightly dried make excellent ties for staking your tomato plants with  :)

I feel like all my onion-needs are met by the hardy and prolific nature of this leek and I'm glad I don't have to stuff around with the fussier members of the Allium family through the hot Australian summer.
Many people in the top end of Australia think that society garlic and garlic chives are the only Allium they can grow in a tropical climate, but all they really need, in my opinion, is a Multiplying Clump.
 
pioneer
Posts: 83
Location: St. Andrews West, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
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forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids trees foraging
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Great info here, Jondo! We have wild leeks here in Ontario/Quebec that locals refer to as "wild garlic". I planted a few bulbs last season just for fun. I'm not expecting them to take, but if they do, we should have a few nice patches of them in a decade or so. The problem is they are constantly bordering extinction because they fetch a pretty penny (upwards of $50 a jar!) so ignorant people who are looking for a quick buck overpick them which then threatens the species. If only they would look into growing them in their backyards, with their neighbors, instead of trespassing on farmland at 3:00 AM. But I digress...

Do you know if this (or other) perennial leeks are native to Canada? I've been looking for other types of perennial Allium varieties for the farm but all I can find are the standard garden variety or the common wild leeks.

Any other tips or resources you can share on multiplying clumps quickly to get a faster yield whilst helping the species survive heavy poaching?
 
Jondo Almondo
Posts: 177
Location: NNSW Australia
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Hi Matt, in a very different climate here in Australia, but I'll try to help.

Perennial leeks are from Europe [cite]
I have found that when planted into sandy soil (rather than clay or loam) the plant produces more offshoots that are easier to separate from each other and have bigger root-mass.
The main tip, as said in previous post, is to divide them as soon as you can and to forego eating any for a few seasons - just keep replanting the mature bulb from your divisions and digging it up again a few months later to separate.

I can water mine everyday for good growth and they won't rot, but that might differ in your climate.

Information suggests these leeks are rare, but some online seed vendors ship bulbs seasonally and eBay is also a good bet.

-

Is your wild garlic synonymous with the canada onion - Allium canadense?
If it is, it seems to be widely grown across North America and also has some mild toxicity issues (thyroid inhibition).
Maybe if folk knew it was toxic and they had access to a more productive leek - they would change their eating habits.

I've made a lot of very novice gardeners happy by giving them a tasty leek which they can propagate without seeds being involved.
So many people are scared of seeds, having been burned by bad germination rates, but are still passionate, productive 'seedling-transplanter' gardeners.
 
Matt Leger
pioneer
Posts: 83
Location: St. Andrews West, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
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These are the ones: Allium tricoccum. They go by name of "Wild Garlics", "Wild Leeks" or "Ramps". There are vendors selling them on the side of the road every spring. They are not toxic as far as I know. That would be pretty ironic considering how much people pay for them.

Jondo Almondo wrote:just keep replanting the mature bulb from your divisions and digging it up again a few months later to separate



Do you think your advice would also apply to these? Or would seeds be better?
 
pollinator
Posts: 426
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I've read that leeks will form clumps if left undisturbed.  I know mine have, and they were not sold to me specifically as multiplier leeks.  In fact, I'm trying to establish a perennial leek patch with them, and have forgone a leek harvest last year in order to get the plants multiplying.  I suspect this will be a multi-year project though, as each leek seems to send out between one and three new shoots, generally in autumn, after the flowerheads die back.  I've not had success saving seed, unfortunately;  the seed I've collected hasn't germinated.

I've also started a new "bunching" spring onion patch this year;  I bought seeds claming they would multiply like leeks and garlic, given enough time.  Here's hoping they do;  a perennial supply of these plus the leeks would be excellent, particularly since I'm so bad at growing regular bulb onions!
 
Posts: 9
Location: Granada, Spain
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Jondo Almondo wrote:Information suggests these leeks are rare, but some online seed vendors ship bulbs seasonally and eBay is also a good bet.



If the perrenial/wild leeks that grow here in Spain (allium ampeloprasum) are the same variety you're talking about then certainly here in southern Europe they are far from rare. Around my home in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Granada they pop up all over the place in later winter, are really good to harvest in spring and flower in early summer.
 
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