Richters InfoSheet D5405
French Shallot Planting Instructions
The french shallot, Allium cepa (Aggregatum group), is known as the true shallot. It has a superb garlicky flavour that is favoured by top chefs. The bulbs have a dark orange-brown or reddish skin and purple-white flesh.
French shallot is winter hardy in temperate zones, to zones 4-9. The best time to plant is in the fall, a few weeks before the fall frosts arrive. Fall planted bulbs will produce a harvest the follow summer. When fall planting is not feasible, or where the winter is too harsh, french shallot may be planted as an annual in spring as soon as the ground can be worked.
Plant bulbs in a sunny, well-drained location. Shallots prefer rich soil fertilized with well-rotted manure. If bulbs cannot be planted immediately on arrival, keep them in the refrigerator (but not in the freezer).
Space bulbs about 10 cm (4 inches) apart, planting them shallow so that the bulb tips peek through the soil (see figure). One kilogram of bulbs plants 8 metres (25 feet) of row. Water thoroughly.
Within a few weeks, hollow onion-like leaves will appear. When weeding, care should be taken not to disturb the roots.
The leaves will start to yellow at the tips mid summer. At this time some soil should be removed from around the bulbs to allow ripening, but this must be done carefully to avoid disturbing the roots. Later when the leaves have died down, bulbs should be lifted and dried for several days, preferably in the sun, or otherwise in an airy, dry location such as a shed, garage or barn.
Store shallots in a cool, frost-free place. Save smaller bulbs for the next seasons crop, planting them later the same fall or the following spring.
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D5405 ©2001 Otto Richter and Sons Limited