Shallots are a little more “finicky” to cook with than onions, but they have a fine and very distinctive flavour. They are very easy to grow.
Similar to onions, shallots are grown from sets (small shallots). Plant in March, but leave until April if the weather is very poor or the soil is very wet. Make sure the soil is light, free draining and non acid – add some compost or manure the previous winter. Add some sand or compost if your soil is heavy when you go to plant. Push the shallot in to the soil with the tip just visible above the surface – allow about 5-7cm between sets.
Water only in dry weather and keep the bed weed free.
They are ready when three quarters of the leaf on each plant has turned yellow and fallen over. This is the same incidentally with garlic. Carefully lift them. You will need to dry them out fully before storing – if the weather is dry leave them on the bed (not touching each other) for about 2 weeks. If the weather outside is rainy, put them in a shed on a chicken wire rack kept about a foot off the ground (so the air can circulate beneath them).
As per onions, the most serious disease is white rot which causes leaves to yellow and wilt and bulb gets white mould. No remedy but to remove and burn. You can not grow onion family in that spot for up to 7 years.