It’s all about the Babington: The perennial leek

I didn’t always understand that there were perennial vegetables for me to grow, but when I did start to learn about them, the Babington’s leek was one of the first I tried to locate. I was ecstatic when I discovered that I could actually grow a perennial leek. It was like Christmas when I planted my first one too! I absolutely adore this plant and so should you! It’s easy to grow, maintains itself and doesn’t really mind partial shade! Just refrain from planting it in very boggy soil! You wouldn’t want your babingtons to rot!

Native to the shorelines of the British isles, the Babington leek is one of the most attractive of all alliums and the bees adore it. Named after Charles Cardale Babington (1808 – 1895) who was renowned for his studies on leeks.

Best planted in autumn, you will find the foliage die back in June and resumes growth in September.

So what the Babington do you do with it?

Well, harvest the leaves or cut at ground level, and dare I say you simply use them as you would any other leek, but with the sweet satisfaction that so long as you leave the bulb underground and intact, it shall crop again year after year, and whats more, from the flower head it will produce a crop of bulbils which will spread and gracefully form a nice little colony of perennial leeks for you! My advice is to ensure that the plant is 2 to 3 years old before it is harvested so that the plant is strong and sturdy enough to recover and resume growth. By the way, as well as obviously tasting ‘leeky’, it has a nice garlicky taste to it!

For our American friends, it like to live in zone 5-9!

 

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