Babington Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var babingtonii)
Babington Leeks are a perennial, rare UK native, found on south-western coasts, with the following life-cycle:
Ripe bulbils fall from September on, to root and develop on the moist winter soil. They are unlikely to reach full size in their first season, especially if you mistake them for grass. Planting in September gives them the longest growing season. I’ve not done experiments, but suggest planting 6-8” (15-20cm) apart, and ½”(2cm) deep.
Around June, the foliage dies back to the underground bulb. (You may like to mark the position to avoid damaging them/overplanting.)
In June, the foliage dies back, but the stalk remains and releases the bulbils by breaking up in autumn.
The leaves can be used like leeks, or to add a garlic flavour to meats, stews, whatever.
The bulbils can be distributed on pizzas (remove husks).
The bulbs can be used as giant garlic – you’ll find them in ones and twos, not clusters as traditional garlic. I’ve just pickled some for the first time – yet to open. To get bulbs, not bulbils, break off the young flower heads (use them in cooking), so that the stalk dies back early. Lift in July/August - if your ground is solid, baked in the summer sun, try watering it to minimise bulb damage when digging them out.
You may try bunching the stalks to make insect homes.
If you fancy growing them, I can send some bulbils to UK addresses on receipt of a suitably stamped, addressed envelope: email me, antthehat at my hotmail.com address for information. Fresh stock is available in September, also the best planting time. If you've got any interesting edibles to offer in exchange, that would be great, but not essential.