Planting shallots is something I missed out on last year as I ran out of space. This year, however, I’m making up for it by planting two varieties – Red Sun and Golden Gourmet.
First of all, I had to prepare a border so that a. they’ll be easier to plant and b. to get some air into the ground to help promote germination. I’ve chosen a border that hasn’t been used to grow onions, garlic or leeks before, and also a border that hasn’t been manured for at least two years.
Red Sun shallots are a popular red shallot variety and are great for pickling, using in a salad and even if you’re cooking. Golden Gourmet is enhanced version of the more traditional variety ‘Giant Yellow’. Golden Gourmet is said to produce large bulbs that will store well during the winter.
Shallots can be planted between 10cm and 15cm apart in rows, with rows spread around 25cm apart. Shallots sit 2cm in the ground, traditionally with the tops poking through the top.
Birds love to peck at these, so I won’t be surprised if I come back and find them above the ground, out of the nice neat rows that I was meticulously measured out.
There is a simple bird deterrent you can build and that’s by laying out a giant X with string from corner to corner of the plot. You can see how I’ve built a bird deterrent in this article about Sturon Onions. Birds tend to pick out the shallots because they believe the tips of the bulb will make for good nesting material or they think it could just be a worm.
I’m hoping for a harvest from July onward, shallots seem quite expensive in the supermarkets for what you get, so I’m hoping this is the start of a fruitful and frugal tradition.