Growing shallots is an easy task for the home gardener, but it takes around 100 days to do so from seed. A gourmet favorite, shallots need rich, well-drained soil, plentiful moisture and full sun to partial shade in order to grow and flourish.
Shallots may be grown from seeds or from sets, which are small bulbs grown from seed the previous growing season.
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Assuming you have a 100+ day growing season, plant shallot seed in early spring as soon as the soil is ready for digging. Shallot seeds and sets may also be planted in the fall for a late spring/early summer harvest.
For best results, plant in full sun and add organic matter to the soil before sowing seeds or sets. To avoid overcrowding, seeds should be spaced 2 to 3 inches (2.54 to 5.08 cm) apart, and individual cloves separated from sets should be planted about 6 inches (15 cm) apart.
Water shallots thoroughly once they have been planted.
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Once shallots have been planted and have reached about 3 inches (8 cm), you should mulch around and between the plants. To keep soil temperature up, shallots planted in the fall should be mulched with black plastic.
Remove garden weeds diligently by hand, and remove any flower stems that appear on the plants. Keep soil moist by watering weekly, especially in dry weather.
Shallots are ready to be harvested when their leaves have started to turn brown and droopy. Harvest your shallots by lifting them from the soil, then leave them to dry for a few days in the shade if possible.
In inclement weather, dry shallots indoors in single layers on a screen. Let shallots cure for seven to twenty-one days, then inspect them for softness and damage, discarding any bad specimens.
For storage, separate shallots, trim roots and stems, place in mesh vegetable bags and hang in a dry, well-ventilated area. Do not store shallots in warm, humid areas or in locations where they may freeze.
Shallots will turn mushy when frozen, so this method of storage is not recommended. Shallot seeds remain viable for up to four years.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Shallots. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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