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Indoors | Outdoors

Why Grow It

Shallots are an extremely tasty veg to cook with and are also easy to grow.

  • Shallots grow best in a good fertile soil so add compost and a general fertiliser for best results.
  • Shallots can be grown from bulbs or sown from seeds depending from variety. If grown from seed, shallots will need a warm windowsill to germinate, but using a heated mat can be more advantageous.
  • Traditional shallots are grown from shallot bulbs. These are planted out in March, 15cm apart in 25cm rows. The bulb then produces a cluster of around 10 bulbs.
  • Other types of shallot, such as banana shallots, are grown from seed, sown in February in modules. Sow 4 seeds in a module 1cm deep.
  • They will be ready for transplanting in 6 to 8 weeks when they are 10-15cm high. Transplant 25cm apart with 25cm between rows.
  • You can sow more seeds (8-12) in a module and thin each one out to 4 plants around 2 months after transplanting for a crop of baby shallots.
  • Shallots hate weed competition so keep your bed weed free. Hoe carefully between the rows as weeds emerge and hand weed along the rows.
  • Water well in dry weather.
  • Feed with a liquid feed if they are not growing well.
  • Shallots can be harvested at any stage you want to eat them, from baby shallots to green shallots and finally mature dried shallots.
  • For dry shallots pull carefully out the ground after the leaves have fallen over, in July/August, and leave outside to dry for a week or two.
  • In a damp autumn the drying will need finishing in a dry shed or poly tunnel. When completely dry store them in a dry shed – they store better if left untrimmed.
  • Young, transplanted bulbs appear irresistible to rooks who pull the young plants out the ground – this is easily prevented by netting.
  • The most serious disease in shallots is white rot. This is usually brought into the garden on onion sets. The disease will persist in the soil for 10 or more years and means you can’t grow onions, garlic or leeks in that area of your garden for 10 years. White rot only attacks the onion family so a crop rotation may prevent this.
  • Downy mildew is a disease that can attack the leaves. To control this keep the shallots growing healthily, but don’t over feed with nitrogen.
  • If you dry shallots carefully they should store until the following spring. You can plait them as you would with onions.