Help! My shallots are still green and small...

vikingkirken(6b)November 24, 2008

Just for fun, I tried planting out store-bought shallots in my garden last fall. Only a couple sprouted, but they are doing great. Unfortunately, they have apparently grown WAY too slow... although the original bulbs have split into lots of "babies", they are still very small, and all the leaves are still green and fresh. And we are starting to get freezes here! What should I do? Pull them and use them like green onions? Leave them in the ground over another winter? Mulch them?

I had expected to have mature bulbs by now. What did I do wrong? Is it possible this variety just isn't suited to my area? Do shallots need a lot of fertilizing? More than 6 hours or so of mid-day/afternoon sun?


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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

It sounds like you didn't do anything really wrong: it's just that shallots are different from things like garlic. It's a bit strange that the leaves have stayed green all summer though ... mine usually die off by August and start back up in late October.

To get large shallots, what you want to do is plant the small ones - they have many fewer growing points so that they produce only a few big shallots. They do take a fair amount of fertilizer and they'd like as much sun as you can give them for best results.

What I'd do now would be if the "babies" still have a bulb, I'd dig them, carefully separate them and replant 6 to 12 inches apart. Since you're going to have a bunch of them left over, I'd use the ones that have sprouted as green onions and also keep any that didn't in the pantry until early spring so that you can put another few in the ground at that time to see the size difference and replace any that got winter killed. I'd also go back to the store and get a couple of more of the large ones and plant them too ... that way you have the large ones making many small ones for next year's planting while the small ones are making big shallots for eating.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 8:02AM
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Some shallots only grow well from seed and others will grow well from offsets.Fertilize well and early.My guess is that your 'store bought' shallots have no variety name.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 11:05AM
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Hmm.... I'm thinking that my biggest problem was probably that I didn't fertilize. I planted these in soil amended with compost, but then didn't do anything more with them.

Garlicman2, you say that some varieties grow well from seed and some do well from offsets... my shallots did divide, quite a lot actually, but only very late in the year--almost a year after planting! And so they are not mature enough to harvest for anything but green onions right now... does this suggest I have a bad variety for growing from offsets, or just that I don't know what I'm doing? =)

And can I plant shallots in the spring, or is that too late? I am loving trying out the different alliums, so I may order some in the spring if that would work. I'm guessing it's too late in the year to plant out now... I would like to try a variety that grows well from offsets, rather than seed. Can anyone recommend one?


    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 9:04PM
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