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Planting & Growing Shallots

Preparation

Shallots are very tolerant and can be grown in acidic soil down to 5 pH, but prefer 6.0-6.8 pH. Plant in fertile, well-drained soil. The looser the composition of the soil, the larger your shallots will grow. Prepare your shallot bed by turning under or tilling in compost (be sure to use compost that is fully aerobically broken down and contains animal manures and plant residues, rather than cedar or redwood). Make sure your soil has ample phosphorus. Gophers love shallots as much as they like garlic; protect your beds with gopher wire or baskets.

Planting & Growing

Shallots are planted from bulbs, rather than cloves like garlic. Shallots should be spring planted in very cold areas. Separate multiple bulbs and plant each individual bulb, root end down. Space 6”-8” apart with 10”-12” between rows. Plant just deep enough so that the tip lies level with the soil surface. Unlike garlic, which forms a bulb from a clove, shallots will form a cluster of 5-12 bulbs around the original bulb. This cluster will spread out more than a garlic bulb and therefore requires more space between plants. Do not use mulch as it may rot bulbs, which are not strong enough to push through mulch. After planting shallots, water well or lightly in heavy soils, and only water again when the soil is dry. Remember, shallots love water and food, but they must have good drainage or the bulbs will rot. In the spring, feed the shallots with either composted manure or a well-balanced fertilizer before the bulbs begin to enlarge. Keep the bulbs well watered and weeded; they grow best with at least 1” of water per week. Remove any seed stalks that form to focus the shallots’ energy into forming bulbs.

13 comments

  • Maria, shallots do tend to bolt or put out flower stalks. Especially when the weather changes dramatically from cold to warm. It signals the plant to start making the flowers. Just clip them off, not much more that you can do.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
  • My shallots are bolting, this is my first year growing them, I found an article that advice to cut the flower stalks, let’s see what happen, I can say I followed the instructions step by step, they are in the same raised bed with my garlic and my garlic looks beautiful.

    Maria
  • Hugh, shallots can be planted in the fall in your zone, but it should go in about 4-6 weeks before the first frost. You want to plant it so the roots get established before the frost. If you are late in planting, I would suggest a very thick layer of mulch to keep it protected. The mulch can be pulled back in the spring when temperatures warm.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
  • Very cold areas is relative as in “Shallots should be spring planted in very cold areas.” I am in Zone 6B. Should I wait for spring or plant the shallots I bought from you now? Thanks.

    Hugh
  • Mary, the shallots will not look like much until the summer. They will start to bulb up in June or July. You know they are done when the tops dry up.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
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