Harvest and Heel in Leeks & Parsnips

This is a sensible job for those whose gardens are in frost pockets (or for areas prone to waterlogging) – by harvesting and heeling in, you’ll be able to keep your veggies fresh and easily accessible over Christmas. You can use this for leeks, celeriac, parsnips etc.

Firstly, a word of caution on harvesting…carefully dig them up, try not to fork the parsnips and split the roots, and don’t try to force or wrench the leeks out of the ground. They’ll most likely break and that would be disappointing. Leave the foliage on the plant.

For the heeling in, choose a sheltered spot that doesn’t get much frost. A little spot by the side of a shed or along a wall/under a tree is a good idea. Dig a small trench in the soil (it only needs to be as deep as the parsnips, and as long as you need for the veg that you’ve harvested to sit more or less side by side.) Stand your veggies in the trench, as if they were just growing like normal, and then loosely cover with soil. If you have some straw left over from a plant delivery, lay this on top of the soil to keep any frosts off. You can now come and grab your veggies whenever you need them – no fork required! – they should keep like this for a couple of months quite happily!