Lee is here drilling leeks with the Agricola precision pneumatic seed drill. The beds were made up in November, with our peat, high organic matter soils they retain heat and warm up quickly which enables weeds to germinate earlier. We are then able to burn them off creating a stale seedbed to drill into. This ensures that the leek doesn’t have any weed competition in the early growth stages and alleviates our reliance on hand labour for weeding until later in the growing season.

The leeks drilled here should be ready to harvest from November through Christmas and we have selected varieties with strong disease resistance to rust as this effects the green leaf. We also look for traits that ensure the shank to flag (white to green) ration is within the specification for our customers. By drilling leeks, we should produce strong plants that have undergone less abiotic compared to transplants and we are hopeful that they are more able to cope with disease pressure, drought and temperature fluctuation that can promote premature bolting (internal growth).