We’re having a go at growing shallots for the first time this year. The variety we’re going for is Hative de Niort, a variety that is often used for exhibition, but can also be used in the kitchen just the same.
We’re planting out slightly later than you ideally would (typically this could be done from November onwards), but as we are not necessarily looking to exhibit them, we didn’t think that should be an issue so decided to give them a go anyway. We managed to get our hands on a few shallots that another grower had going spare, and they arrived in the post safe and sound like this. The main thing is that they all appeared firm, i.e. they were not starting to rot (which can often happen with shallots), so we were good to go!
The first job was to split the shallots up, as they were all doubles. This means that when they grew last year, they had multipled and produced two shallots rather than growing to maturity as a single shallot. Unfortunately this means they’d be no good for exhibition, but there should be no issues with using them as stock to grow on again for this year. Therefore, we carefully stripped away the dry skins from around the shallots and then separated them into two as you can see from the photo.
Some of the shallots had started to grow out when we’d peeled back the outer skins, but like we said, this is because they were hoping to have been planted before this! However, their time had come now! We decided to start them off in 3″ square pots which we filled with multipurpose compost. They should be fine started off in this way, but it also helps us as we haven’t really got the garden set up yet, so they’re easily transportable grown like this!
And this is the shallots planted up. Fingers crossed they like their new growing space and are soon all throwing shoots and roots!
In the meantime, we’ll keep them watered to give them the best chance to get going as we can. The warmer weather we’ve started having (long may it continue!) should help them along their way too.