Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Perennial Sweet Leek

Josh Jamison in Lake Wales is an amazing edible plants sleuth at the ripe old age of 20....his main passion is perennial food crops for central Florida. His knowledge base and the plants he has acquired and compulsively shared is simply amazing. Here is a pic of his hand next to a new crop he acquired....the wild perennial ancestral leek that over the centuries humans cultivated into the modern annual/biennial form familiar to us all and that is lovely to cook with. As I recall he planted the bulblets last November and he has emphasized that he did not water them ONCE.....he shares my obsession for scant water use, yet look at this leek!!! He gave me some bulblets at Andy Firk's last event but it took me some weeks to decide where to plant them....one went into a large Water Wise Container Garden but I took his advice and put all the others in a new west bed. All emerged within a week. He says his have already replicated but I need to ask if that was by division, bulblets attached to the mother bulb like gladioulus do, or it atop a "flower stalk" like Allium canadense does. I agree with him....next is to see if they can make it through our hot humid wet summer, and then if it truly is perennial here.....he is in a VERY cold pocket in Lake Wales so might have a better chance than I do here in balmy south Tampa. He has a few times on FaceBook emphasized how incredibly XERIC a crop they have been for him there at the H.E.A.R.T project where he does most of his gardening. The bulblets he gave me in that coin envelope were about the size of popcorn seeds.

He and I were invited to speak at the Sustainable Living Conference in Plant City at AWA but they have a firm "no dogs" policy and I could not leave Cracker indoors that long so had to miss his talk on Perennial Food Crops.....I am sure he wowed them. Thankfully he is giving the talk again at Andy Firk's event in Arcada April 13. He is a brilliant gentle young man on a remarkable, self-directed learning trajectory that has already benefited many Florida gardeners. I'd love it if his work with this allium plus those I've been researching for a few years now results in our having year round "onions" to cook with year after year as some folks simply don't like the taste and aroma of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) that is SO incredibly reliably perennial and spreading here.

Not only have I made many wonderful new positive energy new friends at these various gatherings, I've been blessed with new data and specimens of some very promising alternative crops.


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