Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 2
   April 2011
 
   What Is It?
 


What Is It?

This brass measure, called a leek gauge or hook, is a vintage tool that was used to determine the winning plant in pot-leek-growing competitions, popular in England. To qualify for competition, pot leeks must have a blanched area (the white part that grows underground) that measures no greater than 6" (15cm). The hook at the bottom of the gauge is placed under the root plate at the base of the leek, and the measurement is made to the button, the point where the vegetable's lowest flags, or leaves, divide. Modern versions of this tool are called leek calipers. They're similar but feature a sliding point that can be locked in place for greater accuracy.

  Modern version
  A modern version of the tool. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Tony Wright)

To determine the winning leek, its circumference is measured at the halfway mark of the blanched area's length, usually with a cloth tape measure. The total size of the leek, specified in cubic inches, is determined using a measuring chart. The quality of the leek is also of great consideration; it must be in edible condition. Another class for the heaviest competition is determined by the leek's weight alone.

The concept of "leek shows" began in the late 1880s in northeast England. Other vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, celery, etc., were shown, but leeks were considered the ultimate display of horticultural skill. Leek clubs formed across the region. Competition among growers was and still is taken quite seriously — not surprising, considering the winner lays claim to such prizes as cash, Caribbean holidays, major home appliances and, of course, fame. There have even been reports of sabotage or theft among growers. In fact, leak slashing is a long-standing and common practice.

 
 
         
Previous Page
Go to page:
1
Next Page
 
   Other Articles from this Issue
 
 
  • The Bold and the Beautiful
  •  
  • The Carefree Gardener's Guide to Daylilies
  •  
  • Horticultural Therapy
  •  
  • Return to Newsletter Home
  •  
     
        What's New in Gardening
     
    DIY Rainwater Reservoir Kit

    DIY Rainwater
    Reservoir Kit
    Potted Plant Supports

    Potted Plant
    Supports
    Mega Clamp™

    Mega
    Clamp™
    PVC Connectors

    PVC
    Connectors
     
    Lightweight Women's Work Gloves

    Lightweight Women's
    Work Gloves
    Transfer Siphon Pump

    Transfer
    Siphon Pump
    80-Litre Water Bag

    80-Litre
    Water Bag
    Shingle and Riving Froe

    Shingle and
    Riving Froe

        News & Events  
     
     
         Lee Valley Seminars
     
     
        Features
      What is It?
    Interesting Reads
    Customer Letters
    From the Garden
     
        Subscriber Services
     
     
     
      Subscribe

    Privacy Policy

    Newsletter Archive