Shallots are great for any garden or allotment. They are much easier to grow and produce more product than onions, and they are very expensive to buy. They are part of the onion family, but drier, sweeter and milder in flavour.
They are usually grown from shallot sets and not from seeds. They should be planted 6 inches apart in rows 9 inches apart with the root pointing down with the top just below the soil. The bulbs can be divided into cloves much like garlic, but ideally plant the whole bulb. Keep the bed free of weeds and well watered.
Every bulb planted will divide and grow into between one to eight more. Ideal soil condition is with 6.0-6.8 pH, however they will grow in more acidic soil. Also the thinner the soil the larger in size they will grow.
They can be planted in the autumn or spring, however the best flavours and yields come from over-wintering shallots planted in late autumn for harvesting the following Summer.
Harvesting and Storing.
Shallots should be harvested on a dry day. Pull up them up sharply, and wash off any excess soil. Then place them in a warm but shady area to dry out for around a week.
Shallots can be stored in exactly the same way as onions in mesh type bags. If kept below 10 degrees they can keep for as long as 6-8 months.
Other than watering they require little maintenance and I would recommend them to anyone to grow as you can save yourself a fortune.
For more great advice and free tips on growing shallots then please visit the authors site on growing vegetables
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