Shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) are great candidates for home-growing, and they are pretty straightforward to plant. However, there is a right and wrong time to grow them in the garden. Learn when to plant shallots according to your region and how to care for your plants. Find out when to harvest them at the end of the growing season for use in your favorite dishes.
Like chives, onions, scallions or green onions, leeks, and garlic, shallots are a member of the Allium genus. They belong to an onion subgroup known as multiplier onions, and they produce two or more bulbs per plant. While they were previously considered a different species, we now categorize them as part of the onion family.
Shallots grow from cloves or shallot sets instead of seeds, and they are fast-growers that require little care to thrive. However, they are cool weather crops like garlic, and it’s important to plant shallots in the early spring or late summer, according to your hardiness zone.
When and How to Plant Shallots
Many vegetables are simple to grow in a home garden, and shallots are one of the easiest. However, it’s vital to understand when to plant shallot seeds based on your region to grow productive plants.
Learn about the USDA hardiness zones and what they mean regarding gardening and growing shallots compared to onions. Discover how to plant-shallots indoors and outside and care for your plants throughout the shallots growing season. Explore one way to use your fresh garden shallots in a recipe.
Shallots Growing Season and Hardiness Zones
Shallots are biennial, the shallots growing season is long, and they do not tolerate hot weather. It’s essential to know when to plant shallots in zone 5 and lower vs when to plant shallots in zone 6 and up. Explore the hardiness zones to help you pick the best planting time for your area.
There are many types of shallots, from French Red to Dutch Yellow, and they all want cool temperatures to grow. It’s helpful to understand the USDA hardiness zones to know when to plant shallots in zone 7 compared to zone 3.
Hardiness zones range from 3 to 10, and they help you determine the best time to plant according to your region. Lower zones represent shorter growing seasons, and higher zones have a warmer climate.
French shallots (Allium ascalonicum) and other shallot types take roughly 90 to 120 days to mature after planting. If you live in a colder zone, consider planting shallots in the early spring for a summer harvest. Fall planting is ideal for a warm location.
When to Plant Shallot Seeds Indoors
While it’s convenient to pick up shallots at the grocery store, there is nothing more satisfying than harvesting fresh veggies from the garden. Here is how and when to plant shallot seeds indoors to encourage germination.
Early spring planting works best if you live in hardiness zones 3 through 6 or 7, and the best way to start shallots during this time is indoors. Eight to ten weeks before the last frost, fill seed starting trays with potting mix and sow two seeds a half-inch deep in each cell.
Spray the soil surface with water, place the tray in a warm and sunny area, and keep the seeds moist until germination. Prepare for replanting after about eight weeks.
Planting shallots in containers indoors and keeping them there is also a possibility. Care for them like you would those grown outside.
When to Plant Shallots in the Garden
If your area has the right growing conditions, planting shallots directly outside is the way to go. Here is the best time to plant shallots in a garden or container with the proper spacing.
Fall planting is best for warm regions like those in hardiness zones 7 through 10 since these areas have a long growing season. The way to grow shallots is to prepare the garden bed with organic matter and ensure it receives full sun.
Make holes a half-inch deep and six to eight inches apart, with rows 12 inches apart. Sow two seeds in each hole, cover them with dirt and keep the soil moist to encourage germination.
After sprouting and the seedlings reach two to three inches tall, thin them out to have one healthy plant every six to eight inches. Treat a green onion seedling the same way.
Garden Shallot Care and Harvest
Now that you understand when to plant shallot seeds and transplant them in the outside garden, it is time to move on to the next step in gardening. While a shallot is a relatively easy grower, they still need some attention. Care for your plants properly and harvest them at the end of the season.
After germination, water your shallots about one inch of water each week. These alliums have a shallow root system, and care is necessary when pulling weeds. Spread mulch over the garden bed to retain moisture, cut back on weeding, and protect fall shallots during the winter.
Side dress your plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer every three to four weeks or bone meal according to the package instructions.
As your shallots begin bulbing, some common pests to watch for are onion thrips and onion maggots. Thrips look like tiny grains of rice and are easy to eliminate with insecticidal soap. Maggots chew on the shallot bulbs and roots, and you don’t notice their activity until the damage is already done.
Fungal and bacterial diseases are also a problem when you grow shallots, leaving lesions on the leaves and fuzzy mold on the plant’s base. Watering your plants at soil level and rotating your crops are the best ways to prevent a disease from ruining your hard work.
Harvest time varies by type and region. When the green tops turn yellow and dry out, it’s time to harvest your shallots. When you pick shallots, pull them gently from the ground one at a time and braid the tops together or place individual bulbs in mesh bags. Hang them in a dry place and store them for up to six months.
A Tasty Side Dish using Shallots
Caramelized shallots have a soft, sweet, and tangy taste that’s hard to resist. While this recipe takes a little longer to prepare due to the slow roasting process, it is well worth the effort and a perfect side dish for any occasion.
Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet on medium heat and add the shallots and sugar. Toss to coat them and cook for ten minutes or until the shallots start to brown. Pour in the vinegar, salt, and pepper, toss everything together, and place the skillet in an oven heated to 400°F.
Roast them from 20 to 50 minutes, depending on whether the shallots are small bulbs or large bulbs. Scoop the caramelized shallots onto a platter, salt, and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with parsley.
Northern regions have a shorter growing season than southern areas, and the temperatures vary significantly between them. It’s essential to plant and harvest shallots at the right time of the year to ensure you get the most out of your allium crop.
Now that you understand when to plant shallots for your area, we’d love it if you’d share our shallot planting guide and tips with the gardeners in your life on Facebook and Pinterest.