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Shallots and Leeks: The Lesser Known Onion Cousins for the Garden & Kitchen

By on October 12, 2011

Tricia plants a shallot bulb. See the paper is split where this bulb was separated from the cluster.

softneck, hardneck & elephant garlic, shallots They’re a big family, those alliums. From the familiar onions and softneck garlics, to the less famous but intriguing shallots, leeks, and hardneck garlics.

Some gardeners even use alliums just for their flowers, like Allium giganteum with 3 foot stems and purple flower heads the size of softballs.

Gardeners agree that for superior flavor in onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks there is no substitute for growing your own. They are easy crops, planted in fall and growing until mid-summer harvest.

For the scoop on different kinds of garlic, and how to plant them, check out our video and articles about growing garlic.

We have a great video about planting onions, shallots, and leeks. Which leads to the question:

What exactly is a shallot or a leek?


Shallots are small, paper covered bulbs that are about half the size of an onion. Their delicate flavor is described as combining a sweet onion with a hint of garlic.

Specified as an ingredient in many French recipes, some of our customers grow them simply for the convenience of keeping a small version of an onion on hand, for those nights they want to use about half an onion in cooking a dish and don’t want to worry about wasting the leftover onion.

We have French Red organic shallots for you. Bonus: you’ll be able to use shallots in cooking without breaking the bank.


Leeks look like large versions of green onions or scallions. Even milder and sweeter than shallots, their flavor makes them prized ingredients in soups like Potato Leek Soup, mmm. Or you can braise or grill them on their own as a side dish.

Ready to add leeks to your organic garden? We ship organic leek transplants as soon as we receive them around the beginning of October.

For more information, All the Onions is an inexpensive book, rich in details on choosing, planting, growing, and harvesting shallots, leeks, garlic, and many kinds of onions.

  Comments (2)


I bought a bag of shallots, garlic and 100 snowball onions from PV last couple of weeks.  The yellow info sheet says to plant shallots in spring if living in very cold areas.  So, I will be planting garlic this Oct, do I also plant the 100 snowball onions AND the shallots?  I need alittle help planting these at the correct time.  Many thanks, Dawn

Posted by Dawn Wait on Oct. 14, 2012 at 6:13:37 PM

Dawn if you are in USDA zone 3 or 4, wait until the ground thaws in spring. Zones 5 and up, plant in the fall, after your first frost. If you want to check the most recent zone map, here’s the info

I hope this is helpful!

Posted by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:09:36 PM

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