Rotation Group: 2, Roots and Onions
GRISELLEA robust spicy taste that will not disappoint! Best planted October to mid December, it multiplies well to give a good crop of long, grey-skinned bulbs in June.
JERMORThe copper skinned bulbs have a crisp, pink flesh, tinged white. It is a very popular exhibition variety, but it is equally popular in the kitchen for its excellent sweet taste.
LONGORAn excellent elongated banana-type variety with copper coloured skins and pink flesh. Each organic shallot yields 6-8 bulbs at harvest. Very easy to peel and slice. Great tasting sweet flavour! Harvest June-September.
BISTROPerfect raw in salads, pickled or added to a host of casseroles or other hot dishes, Bistro gives an excellent crop of fairly mild, rich golden bulbs. It can be planted from February onwards.
Site, Soil and Preparation
Shallots thrive in an open, sunny position and on fertile, well-drained soils.
Sow shallot seeds 12mm (1/2 in) deep in seed compost in a greenhouse kept at 10-16 centigrade in middle to late winter. Sow in module trays with a half dozen seeds in each module for later thinning.
Shallot sets are easier to grow than growing from seed and can be planted outside in autumn or in spring. Push them into the soil so the tip is just showing at 100mm (4in) spacings in rows 300mm (12in) apart.
Seeds can also be sown outdoors from the middle of spring - once the soil is warming up and beginning to dry out. Sow 12mm (1/2in) deep in rows 200mm (8in) apart.
Thin indoor grown seeds to 2 or 3 per module.
Thin outdoor sowings gradually to the strongest seedlings at 100mm (4in) spacing.
Indoor sown shallots should be hardened off before transplanting outside to final growing position at 100mm (4in) spacing in rows 300mm (12in) apart, in the middle of spring.
Weed regularly, as shallots don't grow well if competing with other plants. Water in prolonged dry spells every 14 days, and give an occasional feed with a general liquid fertiliser. But stop watering and feeding once the shallots have swollen in mid-summer. Remove any flower stems as soon as they start to form, otherwise the plant's energy will go into producing the flower, rather than swelling the bulb.
Autumn-planted sets are ready to harvest by early to mid-summer, while spring-sown or spring-planted shallots are ready in late summer to early autumn. Yellowing and toppling of the leaves is a sign that the crop is reaching maturity. Harvest before the leaves die down completely.