Leeks taste milder and sweeter than Onions or Garlic and are easier to digest. The long, 12–14″, white shanks of 'Lancelot' are delicious braised, sauteed, and added to soups. Start harvesting just 75 days from setting out your young seedlings. Leeks keep well in the ground and can be harvested year-round in mild climates. Each bundle contains 60 plants. For more information on growing and care, click on Growing Guide.
HOW PLANTS ARE SHIPPED
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.
WHEN WE SHIP
We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.
We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.
UPON RECEIPT. You have received live plants that should be planted as soon as possible. If you are unable to plant them right away, remove them from the box and put them in a cool, dry area. The roots and tops may begin to dry out, but the plants will be fine for approximately 2 weeks, living off their stored energy. After planting, the leeks will make new roots.
PREPARING THE SOIL. Leeks, like onions, are best grown in a fertile and well-drained soil with a good balance of nutrients. Organic gardeners should work in rich, finished compost. Spread lime if your soil is too acidic (pH under 6.0). If you use commercial fertilizer (we recommend 10-20-10), distribute 1/2-cup of fertilizer per 10 linear feet of row and dig thoroughly into the top 4-6 inches of soil.
PLANTING. Set plants out approximately 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Take a handle of the hoe or a broom-stick and poke holes 6-8 inches deep where each plant will go; then place the plants, one to each hole, so the youngest leaves protrude just above the soil surface. Use a sprinkler or fine hose to water plants in. This will settle the soil in the holes around the roots at the bottom and provide automatic 'blanching' (See below) for the lower part of the stems. Alternatively, use a hoe to dig a narrow trench about 8 inches deep. Set the leeks in the trench and space them about 6 inches apart. Fill the trench with soil and press firmly but gently into place.
BLANCHING. Planting leeks deep in the soil "blanches" them: the part of the stem below the point where the leaves fan outwards (called the shank) is deprived of sun, keeping it white, tender and more flavorful. As the plants grow, mound more soil around the stems gradually, about every two weeks, until the plants reach their full height.
FERTILIZING. Leeks require a lot of nitrogen. Give plants a supplemental feeding of liquid fish emulsion or other fertilizer about 3 weeks after planting; continue to fertilize every 3-4 weeks thereafter. If you use a dry granular fertilizer, water it in well.
WATERING. Throughout the growing season keep the soil evenly moist. Leeks that suffer from a lack of moisture grow unevenly, developing a strong flavor and pithy texture.
WEED CONTROL. It is important to control weeds around leek plants. Start hand-weeding or hoeing as soon as weeds begin to appear. Be careful not to damage the young leek plants. Keep the soil loose and mound the dirt up around the plants regularly, as high as where the leaves fan outwards, in order to blanch the stems for better flavor. A light organic mulch will help to control weeds and preserve moisture.
DISEASE AND INSECT CONTROL. You can generally expect a disease-and-insect-free crop, but leeks do occasionally have problems similar to those afflicting onions. They can be susceptible to two major diseases: blight and purple blotch. If the leaves turn pale-green then yellow, blight has probably affected the plant. Purple blotch causes purple lesions on the leaves. Heavy dew and foggy weather favor the spread of both blight and purple blotch, and when prolonged rainy spells occur in warm weather, these diseases can be very destructive. The best cure is prevention: plant in well-drained soil, run the rows in the same direction as prevailing winds (the direction from which the wind blows most commonly during the growing season), and avoid planting near windbreaks that will prevent good air circulation around the leek foliage. If conditions favoring these diseases persist, spray a fungicide labeled for use on onions and leeks, carefully following the instructions.
The most destructive insect is the onion thrips. Thrips are light brown in color and are less than 1/16in. long. They feed by rasping the surface of the leaves and sucking the juices, causing deformed plants with silvery blotches. Thrips overwinter in weeds, so keeping the garden clean can help reduce their population. Combat serious infestations by using insecticidal soap.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE. 'Lancelot' Leeks are an early variety, maturing about 70 days from planting out, but they can be harvested at any time before that for use as a mild flavored alternative to scallions or chives. Unlike Onions, leeks do not need a rest period before harvest and are best when harvested fresh from the garden, as they don't store well--up to a week in the refrigerator, if kept moist. To harvest the leeks when mature, loosen the soil gently with a garden fork and pull the plants from the ground, being careful to shake off most of the dirt. If you're not going to use them right away it's best to cut off the top leaves in a V shape (with the outside leaves shortest) which will neaten their appearance and stop the plants from withering or drying out too quickly.