Last year I grew shallots for my daughter. She brought back the ones she didn’t use. Not knowing a whole lot about shallots, I just planted them when I planted my garlic in October. This week I am pulling sweet onions that the storms flattened, and digging garlic. I found the shallots I had planted last October. I dug them up and just looked at them wondering if I had done a good job or not. They had grown and seemed to be ready to harvest.
Some may ask what a shallot is. Shallots are one of the easiest members of the onion family to grow. They mature faster, and if your garden is like mine they require less space. Shallots are commonly thought of like a green onion. Not true— shallots are quite different. With their mild onion and garlic flavor, shallots are considered an essential ingredient for flavoring nearly any dish. When you look at a shallot you will see that a distinguishing factor that sets them apart from other members of the onion family is unlike onions, or leeks, shallots are made up of cloves, much like garlic. When planting shallots, the best time is in early spring, but you can plant in the fall. Plant an inch or two deep with the tips slightly protruding from the soil’s surface. Space shallots about eight inches apart to prevent overcrowding. Shallots require thorough watering once planted but require less as they mature. Once mid spring arrives you need to expose shallot bulbs to aid in the ripening process. They develop better on top of the ground. You can add mulch to help retain the moisture and keep the weeds down. Harvest depends on when you plant them. Fall plantings are ready to harvest in the winter or early spring. If shallots are planted in the spring, harvest them mid summer to early fall. It is best to harvest when the bulbs are about a quarter inch around but wait for the leaves to yellow before lifting.
So growing shallots is easy and require little care. You may have to occasional water them, but these hardy little bulbs are seldom affected by problems. You do need to rotate your crop every other year, especially in areas where other onions have been previously grown. See you at market.