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General information and discussion about cultivating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

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Old July 28, 2018   #16
Father'sDaughter
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I didn't keep notes, but IIRC the shallots always needed a little bit longer than the onions. Given how green the tops were, I could have left them in the ground a bit longer, but there at the stage where wet conditions will start causing rot which then seems to lead to insect damage.

I hope the rest of your season normalizes. We had cold weather into May this year and I have quite s few things (especially tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini) way behind schedule.
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Old July 28, 2018   #17
bower
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Thanks, FD. I will try not to rush the harvest then, give them time. Yes, the weather has put harvest times way out of kilter - I just harvested peas that were planted under row cover in April! And tomatoes were well behind the normal timeline. We have had hotter than normal weather in July, but also more cloud and rain than is usual this time of year. The heat produced a big flush of ripening tomatoes and of course, all the lettuce and the arugula promptly bolted. Why is it such a challenge to have all the ingredients for a good salad at the same time?
The ten day into August is looking normal for temp and precip, so I expect the usual challenge with garlic and onions, to give them enough time to mature before it turns cool and wet.
I'm really looking forward to have some shallots!!
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Old July 31, 2018   #18
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This year I grew Zebrune (echalion in french, since they don't allow the name echallot for it anymore). It's unfortunately a 100% onion that goes around as shallot for some reason, the good thing is that it has good production potential and seems to handle the heat very well, and keeps green a long time.
Supposed to be very good for storing as well. Texture is hard and dense (which is closer to shallot than onion), taste is better than an onion, will have to make a more direct comparison with my old trusty shallots, but on the balcony the zebrunes did much better in little space.
The disadvantage is that they started very very weak from seed, not sure if all onions are like this, literally in 3 months you get a scrawny little plant that can't stay upright and is about 2 mm in diameter.
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Old July 31, 2018   #19
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Zipcode, the onions leeks and shallots I've started from seed are all pretty small to begin with. The practice of giving them a "haircut" periodically does seem to help with thickening the stems, and of course feeding some high N ferts (fish emulsion in my case).
I do start them in a mass planted flat, and I've come to the conclusion that spacing makes a big difference to the size of your start. I experimented with onions one year and with my leeks this year, that I took a few out of the crowded quarters and potted them up into 9-cells to give them extra space. The difference it makes after transplant is really noticeable. If I had enough lights, I would pot all of them up into cells at some stage. Maybe I'll try potting up and out into the greenhouse in March or April instead, as that would harden them off too for a plantout in may.
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Old July 31, 2018   #20
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I agree that the spacing and trimming make a huge difference when starting from seeds.

I've taken to using the inserts for 1020 trays (I think they are about 3x3??) and planting nine seeds in each, evenly spaced out. They are started in February, given diluted fertilizer every other watering, and get haircuts every few weeks. By late April when I plant out they have at least pea-sized bulbs and pretty thick stalks for their size due to the haircuts.
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Old August 2, 2018   #21
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Zipcode, this pic is what happened with my leek experiment. The three rows in the middle were potted up into individual cells, and this is how they look after some time in the field. On the sides, the ones from the mass planting can't catch up. Same thing happened with the onions, the ones from cells were bigger plants and in the end made bigger onions. I guess I should have done the same with shallots It would definitely be worthwhile if you have the space.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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Just to update my shallot seed experiment: the shallots continued to divide and got quite bushy but they didn't bulb. Here are pics from September - I dug one just to see what they were like as scallions (nice garlicky flavor but kind of hard textured). They had really made deep roots and every seed produced a half dozen or so divisions. Since the roots were so firm I decided it would be best to leave them and hope they would overwinter.


I intended to mulch them but got unexpectedly busy in the fall and wasn't able to mulch any of the alliums. Then we had a strange winter with a lot of rain storms instead of snow, turning to snow or flash freezing into ice sheets at the end, and then weeks of very cold temperatures in the minus teens C. The shallot bed was covered in a sheet of ice, and I figured they were goners.


This weekend we had a thaw and I took a walk around the garden with my friend and her son. I was lamenting the fate of the shallots and pointed to the end of the bed where the ice sheet was just starting to recede.... holy cow! There they were, an inch through the ground!!
So they clearly made it through winter just fine, but the question now, will they survive our "spring"? They are really precocious to be up this time of year. Nights are dipping to -7C (-19 F) this week, so well below "frost". My mom suggested to cover them with boughs, so that's what I did. I hope it's good enough...
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File Type: jpg shallot-sept-nobulbs.JPG (195.8 KB, 64 views)
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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I'll update my Egyptian Walking Onion seed trial. I sowed 3 seeds, 1 germinated, and grew very weakly for a few weeks. It then began to slowly die. The autopsy revealed that there was only green growth above the soil line, with basically no roots below.


That was just an indoor trial. The rest of the seeds will be sown outdoors.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tormato View Post
I'll update my Egyptian Walking Onion seed trial. I sowed 3 seeds, 1 germinated, and grew very weakly for a few weeks. It then began to slowly die. The autopsy revealed that there was only green growth above the soil line, with basically no roots below.


That was just an indoor trial. The rest of the seeds will be sown outdoors.
My EWO grow like weeds now since I leave them to bulb. Last year I think they went to over a meter and bulbed. If yours ever die out let me know.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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I always wondered if shallotts can be grown from seed. Now i know.
I am growing some from store bought shallotts. They have popped up nicely. I wonder if they will bulb before it gets too hot.
To me shallotts are just a variety of dividing onion.. i have not noticed any garlic flavor in them. But i like them. Sometimes i don,t need a big onion, a shallott will do
So this is an experiment for me . I will try to let some bolt so that i can collect seeds.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
Father'sDaughter
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I tried to germinate some more of the shallot seeds this year, but they are apparently too old as I had zero germination. I did plant back some of the shallot bulbs last fall and if history repeats itself, they will send up flower stalks and I'll be able to collect fresh seeds.

And I realized about two months ago that I never planted back any of the ones I grew from seeds last year when I found them hanging in a different location in the basement... guess I'm starting the cycle all over again assuming I get viable seeds this summer.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
LDiane
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Nights are dipping to -7C (-19 F)

Bower, you should have said +19 F.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
bower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDiane View Post
Nights are dipping to -7C (-19 F)

Bower, you should have said +19 F.
Whoops, you're right! Thanks.
Did you have any experience with shallot hardiness in spring?
(or what we call "spring" )


Seriously, they are up well before anything else including garlic and chives - the toughest allium of all. So I'm thinking they are adapted to a shorter winter than what we must endure...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
To me shallotts are just a variety of dividing onion.. i have not noticed any garlic flavor in them. But i like them. Sometimes i don,t need a big onion, a shallott will do
So this is an experiment for me . I will try to let some bolt so that i can collect seeds.
The seeds you find can be for actual shallot or for fake shallot (sometimes called banana shallot).
To get them to bolt, you need certain conditions, since they just multiply when everything is right. Like starting them when it's too cold, or heat followed by cold, something like that.
I also can't say I find anything garlicky about them, but my favourites for fresh eating are the roundish ones which are somewhat pink inside. For example Red Sun (really excellent). The yellow round ones have poor taste (Yellow Moon), like a common yellow onion. The long and small expensive ones have been really too hot for me, and the taste I would personally rate below the round ones (these I have only bought, from France, Nl, Ro, not entirely sure what variety but they were somewhat similar in high heat, might be good for cooking).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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This thread reminds me of my ultimate allium for aroma and flavor...ramps. It's almost that time of the year for the hunt. And, if the river don't rise too high, fiddleheads too.
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