Allium Family: Leeks, Garlic

Learn more about the Allium family — particularly leeks and garlic — with our thorough plant guide that shows you when to sow and harvest, plus the best conditions for these plants.

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Fruits and Vegetables in Pots © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Leek 'Musselburgh'

An extremely hardy, sturdy leek, with a broad white stem topped by impressive green leaves, known as flags. This old variety can withstand the coldest winter, and can be harvested from late fall until late winter.

Sow: Early to mid-spring
Harvest: Late fall to late winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Leek 'Hannibal'

This handsome leek has deep green leaves and a long, white, straight stem. Suitable for fall and early winter cropping, it also produces impressive mini leeks when planted close together.

Sow: Early to mid-spring
Harvest: Early fall to early winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Leek 'Swiss Giant, Zermatt'

An elegant variety with a long, slender stem, which despite its name forms excellent mini leeks when planted at high densities. It is ready for harvest by late summer—an advantage for those with limited space in the garden.

Sow: Early to mid-spring
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Garlic 'Solent Light'

One of the best garlics for cool climates, this is best planted in fall but also does well planted in spring. Itmatures in late summer and because it is a non-flowering, softneck type, stores extremely well.

Plant Cloves: Mid-fall to early spring
Harvest: Midsummer to early fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Garlic 'Early Light'

This flowering, hardneck, purple-skinned variety is best used fresh but will store for about three months. The harvest will be eagerly anticipated, as this is one of the earliest varieties to crop in cool climates.

Plant Cloves: Mid-fall to midwinter
Harvest: Late spring to early summer
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Garlic 'Elephant Garlic'

Closely related to the leek, this giant produces bulbs up to 4 inches in diameter. Use the large, juicy cloves fresh from the soil to enjoy their mild, sweet flavor, which makes them particularly suitable for roasting.

Plant Cloves: Mid-fall to midwinter
Harvest: Midsummer to early fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun