Zermatt Leek Seeds
The Best for Baby Leeks!
It's no exaggeration to say that when you plant Zermatt, you simply can't go wrong. This leek is versatile, easy to grow, disease-resistant, and delicious. Whether you want a bumper crop of baby leeks, a long season of full-flavored leeks, or a late crop of tasty frost-tinged leeks ready for Thanksgiving, Zermatt is the one to rely upon!
Zermatt is a Swiss Giant type, but instead of maturing in early midseason, as most do, it's ready early in leek season. Start the seeds indoors (recommended) and harvest baby leeks in just 6 weeks from spring transplant. And by sowing the seed successively from March through May, you can still be enjoying mature leeks fresh from the garden in your autumn soups and stews! If you live in a climates that's relatively free of frost (though light frost won't hurt Zermatt), there's no reason why you shouldn't keep the harvest going through Christmas and into the new year.
This leek is rigidly upright, with stiff outstretched leaves ("flags") of mid-green. The shaft is long, bringing you extra bites from every plant, and the plant is rust-resistant, making it a good choice for gardens where that has been a problem in the past. It stores well after harvest, remaining fresh in the refrigerator up to a month . . . But there is nothing like the fresh, intense flavor of a just-picked Zermatt to liven up a dish!
You may wonder why baby leeks are popular, when spring onions would appear to fulfill the same need. In truth, baby leeks have a milder flavor and a more resilient texture, holding up better when cooked.
Zermatt is easy to grow, but preparation is the key. Like all leeks, it is a heavy feeder, so prepare the soil with plenty of manure and humus before planting. Heavy soils are tolerated, but lighter are preferred. And the drainage must be good.
Start the seeds indoors 12 to 14 weeks before the last scheduled spring frost in your area, sowing them 1/4-inch deep and covering lightly with vermiculite. Keep the seeds at about 70 degrees F until germination, then place them beneath grow lights or in a bright window. The seedlings will look like stalks of grass as they emerge.
When the seedlings are about 6 inches high, trim the top 2 inches off and continue to grow them on. They are ready to transplant when their stems are about the diameter of a pencil.
Transplant them in rows 18 inches apart, with each seedling about 10 inches apart. Place each seedling into a 6-inch-deep hole that is larger in diameter than the seedling. (Use the slender handle of a garden tool for quick, uniform planting holes.) The young plants will be nearly all below the soil line, which is important to help the stems blanch. But here's the trick: do not refill the hole with soil. Instead, water it in thoroughly and move on.
Within a week or two, the holes will have naturally filled back with soil, and as the plants grow, you may want to mound soil around their bases, extending the blanching process. (Don't get carried away, though; if you bury the stem too firmly or too deeply, it could rot the plant.)
You can also direct-sow the seeds in spring, but the plants will probably be smaller. If you do this, follow the same instructions for sowing and pruning the young plants. You may want to place the seeds closer together and then thin the young plants at about 6 inches high. The thinnings make nice additions to soups and stews!
When it's time to harvest the leek, bear in mind that the plants have grown very close together and the roots may be intertwined. Work the stem and root upwards with a fork and gently pat the soil back in place around plants you are NOT harvesting.
Leeks are delicious in so many dishes, and growing them is a snap. They make nice neighbors for your tomatoes, too! Give Zermatt a try this season. Pkt is 100 seeds.
|Item Form||(P) Pkt of 100 seeds|
|Additional Characteristics||Cool Season, Cut-and-Come-Again, Direct Sow, Easy Care Plants, Edible, Season Extenders|
|Foliage Color||Medium Green|
|Harvest Season||Early Fall, Early Summer, Early Winter, Late Fall, Late Summer, Mid Fall, Mid Summer|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy, Sandy|
|Uses||Beds, Containers, Cuisine, Outdoor, Winter Interest|
How to Sow Leek:
- Best started indoors as transplanted leeks have more vigor and get a head start on their long growing season
- Sow indoors in late winter at a temperature of 68-70°
- Seeds can also be sown outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring
- In Zones 8 and warmer, seeds can be sown in the fall
- Indoors and out, sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds and expect germination in 10 days.
How to Grow Leek:
Transplanting: Transplant when the seedlings are about the girth of a pencil and as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring
Spacing: Thin or space 4 inches apart in rows spaced 12-18 inches apart
Soil: Site in fertile, deeply tilled, rich soil. Fertilize at planting time and again in mid-summer.
Lighting: Site in full sunlight
Additional Care: Water regularly. To blanch them, mound soil around the base of the stems as they grow. Blanching makes them more tender and sweet
Appearance and Use:
This 24 inch tall plant is grown for its edible stem and the enlarged stem base. The flavor is reminiscent of onion, but its flavor is milder. The gray-green foliage is flat, long, and broadly strap shaped. After blanching the stems white, harvest when they are the desired size for the type. Harvesting could be as early as two months after sowing or as late as in the fall before the ground freezes. They are not frost tolerant, but may be left in the soil overwinter—provided protection is given—and dug as needed
Botanical name: Allium ampeloprasum
Pronunciation: al’e-um am-pe’lo-pra-sum
Origination: Liliaceae; native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia
Superior Germination Through Superior SciencePark Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University InspectedTo make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced TechniciansPark Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold StandardAnd many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier. When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds? It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them? Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.