Sand leek – a forgotten plant that is coming back

Sand leek

Sand leek (Allium scorodoprasum) is an ancient plant that we have almost forgotten. Compared to ordinary garlic, it has a milder taste and it is grown like any regular vegetable. You can grow it as an ornamental plant or as a crop – for consumption. Sand leek also produces beautiful flowers during the flowering period.

What is a sand leek?

Sand leek is a wild type of garlic that can be found almost all over Europe. There is also wild sand leek, but it only grows in warmer areas.You can see it in meadows, along forest edges or along roads. It is usually 50 to 100 cm tall. If you dig underground you will find a dark purple bulb that is made up of smaller bulbs. The lower part is covered with blade-like leaves. Flowers are purple and spherical in shape. Sometimes, small bulbils are also part of the flower.

Sand leek


How to grow sand leek

Start planting in autumn. As long as the soil did not freeze, you can sow – that means you can do it throughout the winter until the end of March. Plant to a depth of about 5 cm, but make sure to rid the soil of weeds before planting. If you want to protect sand leek from freezing, cover the surface of the soil with mulch. Do not forget to remove the mulch at the beginning of spring.

Growing and caring

The first year is all about getting rid of weeds. Seedlings are tiny during the first year. During the summer, the part of the plant which is above the ground will dry out – and this is a sign that you can start harvesting.Dig the plant out and keep it in a dry place – as you would with regular garlic. You can plant sand leek harvested in this way in next autumn, but this time plant it to a depth of 10 cm in 10 x 40 cm pattern. This time the plant will be much stronger and you can keep harvesting the bulbs and grow it as a perennial.

Sand leek in the kitchen

You may also use the leaves. People usually add them to vegetable salads or chop them fine, as chives, and use the chopped leaves on bread with butter or various spreads. Flowers may also be consumed, but they are mainly used as decoration for cheese or salami plates or vegetable salad. Parsnips, which have a milder taste than garlic are edible too – they taste more like leek.

Preview photo:

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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