Meet the grower
Charlie Lightbown and his team grow around 10,000 tonnes of leeks a year – mostly in the fields of North Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire. Here he explains what goes into growing and harvesting leeks.
How are leeks grown?
We start planting both young leek plants and individual seeds from mid March to early May. We plant young plants to give us a nice early start through the summer, individual seeds grow through the summer and are ready for harvesting from September through to April.
Ideally the soil needs to be warm and damp, so that the plants get the best chance to grow nice and strong. It takes anything from 3 – 12 months before the leeks are ready for harvesting.
Growing a good crop of leeks requires precision farming, GPS on tractors mean perfectly straight fields, all the plants are put in by hand and the seeds are drilled under supervision by a highly skilled tractor team.