Hydroponic Gardening – Leeks

Leeks are part of the onion family. They have a milder flavor, however, and are often preferred to their stronger tasting cousin. This vegetable is very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked and both leaves and stems are edible. In addition, this cold-weather crop is so easy to grow, it is almost a must in any hydroponic garden.

Leeks do best in a perlite growing material. This allows the roots plenty of air by providing adequate drainage. The roots of the leeks are the most wanted part and you do not want to keep them too moist or you can cause root rot. An ebb and flow system will work perfectly while growing hydroponic leeks as it will enable the gardener to control how moist the growing medium remains between feedings. Leeks prefer a pH of between 6.5 and 7.0 for optimal growth and will benefit tremendously from added nitrogen.

One of the most preferred methods of feeding leeks is the drip irrigation method. This method allows for adjustments to be made easily should it be necessary. You want to keep the roots slightly moist, but allowing them to remain wet for too long can cause rot. The adjustment valves on the drip irrigation system are easier to maintain than some other hydroponic methods.

Leeks have very few problems with insects. Having your hydroponic garden inside either your home or a greenhouse should eliminate this pest problem completely. It is important to remember that commercial pest solutions are highly discouraged in the hydroponic garden. If absolutely necessary, visit your local hydroponic supply store and obtain a pest product specially formulated for hydroponics. These are developed to cause the least amount of damage possible to your leeks and other plants.

Being cold weather crops, your growing area temperature can be as low as twenty-four degrees Fahrenheit, but you really don’t want to allow this low of temperature for too long. During germination, set temperature at seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit and provide as much light as possible. Once your plants have become as big around as an average pencil, they will be ready to plant in their final growing area. At this point, the temperature in the growing area needs to remain between fifty-five and seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit, preferably at the lower end of this spectrum. Temperatures above seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit will jeopardize the growth of your leeks.

1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Colin said,

    I love your interesting site. I have started NFT hydroponics this year and had great success. Its Autum here in New Zealand now so I was just wondering if I could grow leeks in an NFT system. I thought of using the same disposable plastic grow pots (i successfully use these several times) that I have been using for lettuce. Would a CF value of say 20 be about right? cheers Colin

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