Shallots and Multiplier Onion Seed Stalks

Geezer66(Ohio)August 3, 2005

I have many seed stalks on my shallots. The ones in the nest that dried are just fine, but the seed stalk is tall and green. I cut off the green stalk and tore the hard part off on the side and what was left was ok. Same with Ron's Nebraska Multiplier Onion. They produced a huge crop, but so many didn't dry because they had a tall seed stalk. I removed the seed pods as soon as they formed when the stalks were short, but they produced the seed stalk anyhow without the seen pod on it.
Is this common with these type of plants? Geezer

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gardenlad(6b KY)

Geezer, I can't answer directly. Only one of the multipliers I've grown goes to seed (Sharon's Shallot), so don't have enough first-hand knowledge to reply.

However, Tom Greenwood, the original source of the Ron's I sent you, will be one of the featured speakers at the AHSC fall conference. So you might want to drive down and attend. There will be plenty of time for you to discuss multipliers with him. Plus I expect he'll set up, again, at the seed swap with a selection of alliums.

The conference is October 21-23, in Berea, Kentucky. For more details, contact me at

If it's any help, when I grew the Sharon's Shallot about half of them sent up seed stalks. I let them be, to see what would happen. What I found was that the bulbs on those were significantly smaller, and tended to rot in the ground. Whether or not this is typical I can't say.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 8:11AM
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Sarrah(z7 CA)

Timely post for me. I just popped in here to see if anyone had heard of shallots developing seed. I have never had them do this before. This year I had one bulb that developed 4 and three of those developed seed. I brought the seed in because I didn't know for sure I was correct in this. These shallots are from my own bulbs that I've had going for a number of years so it can't be a new species. Of course I've no idea what they are other than good, they have a redish tinge to them. I originally got some bulbs from a fellow who'd grown them for years and he didn't recall where he got them from. I've no real reason that I know of to bother with the seeds so perhaps I'll just compost them. Of course I do like to see what happens so I may try planting the seed and see what develops. Words of wisdom are welcome.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 1:53PM
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GardenLad--Your multipliers that develop a seed stalk, do you remove the bottom of the stalk and still have a decent onion left? When I removed a couple, the skin of the onion is pulled off to expose the onion. They look good except for the flattened side where the seed stalk was removed. In your experience, is this remaining bulb viable to replant? It looks like it is edible unless the taste is tainted because it was part of the seed stalk. Geezer

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:35AM
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coho(z8/9 N. Calif)

Go ahead and plant them, you may get something new. There are several shallots that are available as seed. They grew bigger than my Dutch Yellows, but do not keep as well. Had too many and most rotted. A few kept well and were replanted.
When well cured, the seed stalk pulls readily away and the bulb skin is not broken. Harvested 7 varities and none did what you describe.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:54AM
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Sarrah--Did you pinch off the seed pods when they first appeared? I did and they developed a seed stalk with out the seeds anyhow.The ones I planted last fall are the ones that developed the seed stalks. I planted some this spring and none of them had seed stalks. All from the same strain. I am hoping Martin sees this and gives us the real scoop about this problem.

You stated that shallots are good. Maybe you would be kind enough to give me a few ways to use them so that I can convince people I offer them to to take them. Even with the seed stalk problem, the others have produced way more than I can use and I don't even know how to use them in cooking. All I know is that I hear and read that famous chefs use them somehow.I don't know if saying that would impress enough people to try some. Geezer

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 1:00AM
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Sarrah(z7 CA)

I have the seed curing right now. I just took them out of the garden today. I will try planting the seed and see what I get. I love a challenge. ;)
Once you get to using your shallots Geezer you will not want to give them away. I know I don't. I put away 100 bulbs for planting and I have 150 to use with a later planting of the Dutch type still growing. I just put those in a month ago.
Shallots are a delicate flavour and don't take a lot of cooking. They are an ingredient in Béarnaise sauce. DH makes it often and it is wonderful. I use them in stir fry but add them near the end. As I say they don't take a lot of cooking. I put them in salad, and omelettes. If it calls for onion and is a quick cook I try them.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 1:18AM
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Some shallot clones put on a lot of seed stalks. Dutch yellows do or the least the ones I have do. I now notice the people I bought them from are acknowledging that. I try to cut them off when I see them I use them in stir fries etc.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 8:16AM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Geezer, shallots are, at base, specialized multiplying onions. As such, you can use them wherever onions are called for; or when you want a mild oniony addition to something.

In addition to everything else, you can make a great topping with them. Slice into rings. Saute them in very little oil well past the coloring stage. They will turn brown and crispy. Drain these crisps and use them to top salads, casseroles, etc.

As to removing the seed stalks. The ones I clipped developed fair to middling bulbs. But they didn't seem to keep well, even though I had trimmed the stalks.

I only grew the Sharon's Shallot two years. By me it was more trouble than it was worth. They seem to prefer dryer conditions---in Colorado, where they come from, the bulbs grow as much as 4" but even the best of mine didn't go more than about 1 1/2". Nor did mine color up as intensely. They're supposed to have orange scales, but mine were pretty much straw colored, with just a hint of orange.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 8:19AM
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mindsmile(z5 ma.)

I can't say for the Sharon's Shallot.
But the purplish types that are grown have an onion garlic mix of flavors.
Those golden shallots I grew out from Martin last year-the few we ate raw sliced/diced did not have the garlic flavor but just tasted kinda on the spring onion side but a bit sharper for the flavor.Maybe cooked and added to a dish they will give off a different flavor.
So it sounds like all the shallots may have different flavors and strenghts for taste.I have yet to try the frogs leg grey French types.I right now prefer the purple types with the mixed aroma & flavor both raw or cooked.I think these I have may be seperated bulbs of what I can buy nowadays in stores from seed started shallots-variety Bonilla.
What say Martin??

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 7:38PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

Who, me? What? I haven't ever seen a shallot seed stalk! Grew at least 4 or 5 different kinds over the years and never had one bolt. And I've never grown that specific variety of multiplier onion. So, couldn't add to whatever else has been said.

As for taste, I've always liked the sort of in-between taste of the Goldens. To me, it's an onion with an attitude and not to be over-cooked. Possibly the taste is more fugitive than a regular onion and it's lost if cooked too much. We did have a nice Pikant shallot in the latest stir-fry but I didn't pay that much attention to any difference between them and the Goldens. They're just both good ones!


    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 9:00PM
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mindsmile(z5 ma.)

Great discription for the Goldens Martin.
Glad someone could put the taste into words.I like them fine-better than yellow type onions as of the first time I tried them.It probably will be a 50-50 mix between my 2 varieties that go in fall and spring,50-50 there also-just hedging my bets on the fall planted making it through the winter with the Goldens.Probably will hold back 4 of 8 on the Goldens for an early spring planting just so I'll get enough to increase my small amount of garden stock for 2007.
Any chance or thoughts about the Goldens doing well under lights for a few months over winter?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 5:44PM
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new2gardenfl(Z9 CentralFL)

I read in an article about garlic going to seed. They recommended tying the tops so that the energy goes to producing the bulbs instead of the seeds.

Here is a link:

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 2:56PM
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coho(z8/9 N. Calif)

Most garlic produces Scapes, but not seed stalks. Softnecks may produce flower balls but seldom if ever seeds.
To get bigger garlic bulbs, you harvest the scapes and use for cooking. They are very tasty.
Hardneck garlic will produce little garlic bubils, again, not seed.
Growing garlic in France must be unique.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 8:17PM
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