Allium porrum, commonly known as Leeks, are biennials which are grown for their long fleshy stems and strong taste ideal for adding to soups, stews and casseroles or eaten raw as part of a salad. Leeks are a staple vegetable in many countries and are widely grown due to their low maintenance. Sow into seed trays, under glass in late winter and transplant after the last frosts for the best results. As the stems start to grow and mature they can be blanched by mounding up dry soil around them. Your tasty stalks should be ready to be harvested in early autumn, throughout winter and into early spring. Alternatively, Allium porrum can be left to flower the following year for its great ornamental value. It produces large, spherical, pompom-like white and purple blooms on tall bare stems. It is one of the oldest known vegetables with archaeological evidence of it being grown in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000 BCE.