Planting Shallots in the fall means there's one less thing to worry about next spring. Even better, they'll be ready to harvest and to start enjoying in midsummer. Growing your own Shallots is a cinch, and the bulbs you harvest will be much bigger and plumper than the little shriveled ones at the grocery store. One pound of Shallot sets plants roughly a 20-foot row and will yield about 10 to 15 times as many mature Shallots.
Planting time is late fall, so the bulbs have just enough time to develop the roots they need to survive the winter, but not enough time to send up any leaves.
In most parts of the U.S., Shallots are best planted around the time of the first fall frost date in your area. These Shallots typically grow larger than those planted in the spring, which have to play catch-up.
Prepare a sunny planting area by loosening the soil to a depth of about 12 inches. Mix in well-rotted compost and all-purpose fertilizer as necessary. Rake the bed smooth. Separate the bulbs and plant each one individually, pointy end up, pushing the bulb down into the soil so the tip is no more than ½ inch below the soil surface. Space the bulbs 4 to 5 inches apart in rows or in a grid. That's it!
Next spring, as soon as the weather begins to warm up, each little Shallot bulb will send up a cluster of leaves, which are similar to those of an Onion. By midsummer, this foliage will begin to yellow, indicating the bulbs are maturing and almost ready. When the leaves have died back and started to dry, your Shallots are ready to harvest. Lift the bulbs gently and brush off any soil. You can begin using them immediately. To store Shallots for winter eating, the bulbs should be cured for a couple weeks in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place away from direct sunlight. Keep the leaves attached until the bulbs are dry and the leaves are crispy. Then, store them in a cool, dry, dark location.
Two Shallot Varieties for Fall Planting
We offer two types of Shallot bulbs for fall planting. You will find that the little Shallots in our French Shallot Sets range in size, skin coloration, root mass and neck length. They are all perfect to plant. You may even have a mother bulb already surrounded by numerous baby bulbs. You can split the little babies off from the mother bulb so that they all have room to grow and mature. It's all good.
French Red Shallots
A good variety for novice shallot-growers, our French Red Shallots are amazingly productive; are easy to peel and dice and have an intense, spicy flavor. In the summer, when the top greens start to die back, they will yield Shallots the size of chestnuts with coppery russet skins and purple pink flesh. Plus, they store very well, in fact, they can last up to a year when stored properly in a cool, dry spot (between 50 to 60F).
French Gray Shallots
French Gray Shallots are pear-shaped with tough, thick, gray-blue, wrinkled skins concealing creamy purple flesh. Although it takes quite a bit more time to peel them, it is worth it because they have an out-of-this-world, luxuriant flavor all their own. As with many of the most exotic or rare delicacies, they are not long-keepers and must be savored shortly after harvest or cooked and frozen for later enjoyment.
Homegrown Shallots and Garlic are the ultimate flavor makers. This special combo features two of our favorite varieties--both are easy to grow and store well for months after harvest if kept in a cool, dry spot. Plant them both in Fall for a bountiful harvest in midsummer the following year.
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till next time this is Becky Litterer Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa