A lot of Shallots!
Shallots may look like onions but they are not. This earthy sweet vegetable is what we usually eat everyday as onions but they have milder, sweeter flavor and smaller bulbs.
These bulbs grow in clusters unlike onions. They vary in size, shape and color. Some varieties are rounded, whereas others are elongated. Colors may vary from very light pink to brown. Leaves of shallots are super tasty and can substitute spring onion greens or chives.
Forget sowing seeds. Start your plant by planting bulbs that you get from a store for cooking. This will give you clusters of shallots instead of a single bulb. You can plant these any time during the year, however, as a beginner it is better to plant in winters when weather is forgiving.
Shallots like to grow in well drain soil. Fertilize and prepare your soil by adding organic compost or manure few months before planting out shallot bulbs. To start you plant select the bulbs that look healthiest. Put the flat side under the soil and let the pointy side of the bulb stay above the surface. This is where the shoots will grow and multiply.
Growing Shallots in Containers
I grow onions, leeks, garlic and shallots in wooden boxes and around other potted plants. These are especially great for pest control and take so little space to grow that they can fit in with any other plant. You can easily grow a single cluster in a 6 inch pot. Rectangle terracotta trays are best for growing bulbs.
You can start picking your bulbs as soon as they begin to swell. Once the season ends, the foliage turns yellow and bulbs continue to become sweeter and bigger. Stop watering few days before you pull out the mature bulbs. Cut flowering stems to encourage bigger bulbs.
Growing these essential vegetable is absolutely hassle free. Give it a try and experience the best of the flavor that organic farming offers!
Save your seeds
Leave a few flowers on the plants to mature. The clusters of tiny white flowers form a stunning sphere which not only looks striking but also adds interest in any garden. The flowers soon dry out to form seeds. These can be left to completely dry out on the stem and then collected to be replanted.
Best Companion Plant
Companion plantation is a great organic gardening practice. Shallots are the stars of any organic garden. Their pest repelling qualities makes them a perfect companion for carrots, beetroots, radishes, turnip, lettuce, chamomile, khol rabi zucchini and some gourds. On the other hand, beans, peas and asparagus highly dislike shallots around them.
Pests and Disease
Shallots are affected by same pests and disease as onions. Hot dry summer can cause neck rot. Onion fly and onion eelworm can also affect its bulbs and leaves.
Distance 10 in between rows
Plant distance 6 inch
Plant depth tips showing through
This article was written by Zahra Ali for Subh e Nau Magazine’s July’17 edition.