Shallots are small, clustered onions with intense flavor, which are far easier to grow than large, bulbing onions. Shallots are great in sauces, stir fries, stews, and soups.
Full sun and well-amended soil. Provide regular water until leaves begin to brown. One planted shallot generally makes 6-8 shallots about the size of the planted one.
Shallots yield most when September planted, but still produce when started later in fall, or even in spring. Space 6-8” apart in rows 8” apart. Plant the bulb root side down with the top of the bulb one inch below the surface.
For really large bulbs, side-dress the overwintered plants late in Feb. and again on April 1st with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as blood meal at a rate of about 2-3 Tbsps. per 5 row feet. Stop fertilizing and watering when the lowest leaves begin to yellow, usually in June.
The green tops of shallots often make very tasty scallions; however, any leaves you take diminish the energy available for growing larger bulbs. Harvest bulbs when most of the tops have turned brown and fallen over. Loosen the soil first with a spading fork, and then gently lift the bulbs. Their skins have not hardened yet so take care to avoid bruising or tearing them.
After harvest, move bulbs with leaves still attached to a place with excellent air flow but no direct light, such as a covered porch or under an eave. Either hang bulbs, or place them on slatted tables or screens so air can move all around them. Use in the kitchen can begin immediately after harvest, but storage should be delayed for 6-8 weeks of curing. After curing, trim off the roots and stem, and brush off as much soil as possible.
Like all onion bulbs, shallots need cool, dry storage with lots of air circulation. They are best hung in mesh bags at a temperature of about 40°F, but they will keep quite well at 50°F if they have been properly cured and are not tightly packed.