Used as a condiment, the shallot (Garlic shallots) really deserves its place in the garden. This hardy perennial, from the family of Liliaceae, poses no particular problem in terms of cultivation. However, it is necessary to differentiate the varieties because not all of them are planted at the same time. This is what we are going to see without delay, as well as the method of planting shallots and the little care they need until harvest. For purists of the French language who are also passionate about gardening, it should be noted that the form “échalotte” is fully accepted by the dictionary of the National Center for Textual and Lexical Resources (CNRTL)…
Plant the shallot
For planting theshallot in placethe method used by gardeners is as follows.
- Prepare the soil beforehand so that it is loose, without stones or weeds.
- Form a mound along the entire length of the row.
- Dig small holes spaced 15 cm apart.
- If several rows are necessary, respect intervals of 25 cm.
- Plant one shallot bulb per hole, pushing it to a depth of only 2 or 3 cm because its tip must remain clearly visible. Specialists advise to bury the bulb only 50%.
Gourmets who want to grow their shallots when they don’t have a garden can be reassured: the shallot grows very well in the garden, on the balcony provided that it is sufficiently sunny, in a light and soft substrate. The white variety ‘Ermine’ lends itself perfectly to it. There are 6 to 7 bulbs planted in staggered rows per 40 cm long planter. Copious watering is needed immediately after planting. But afterwards, it will be necessary to have a light hand on the watering. For your information, a planter that holds 7 bulbs can harvest 49 good-sized shallots (i.e. 7 per bulb).
Cultivation of shallots
The shallot likes sunny situations and the very well drained soils because it does not tolerate any excess of water, hence the importance of planting it on a small hill. The planting period varies, namely:
- From February to April for the varieties of half-long shallots with pink flesh called Jersey shallots,
- March to May for long and round shallots, among which we find, for example, the Zébrune nicknamed ‘Poitou chicken thigh’,
- October to December for the shallot gray with pinkish flesh, nicknamed the Rolls of condiments, absolutely essential for demanding palates who love good food. Hardy it supports frosts. It produces in abundance since in the open ground, a single bulb can harvest about fifteen shallots.
Note that it is necessary to adapt to the climate because from one region to another, the rains can still be a little too abundant at certain times of the year. When buying bulbs, do not hesitate to ask a gardening consultant.
Maintaining your shallot plants
There is nothing magical about growing shallots. A few good treatments are enough.
The shallot should be watered sparingly because it fears excess humidity and stagnant water.
During the 8 months of cultivation, it is very important to hoe rows of shallots regularly in order to fight against invasive weeds. We absolutely take the opportunity to loosen the soil between the feet but only on the surface, with a fang or a claw.
Mulch to be avoided
The mulching is absolutely not recommended because the shallot tolerates humidity very badly.
Pests and diseases
The thrips are insects that love the shallot in which they lay their eggs. Glue traps can be placed in the garden to eliminate thrips naturally.
About the onion fly it sometimes also attacks the shallot, an aromatic vegetable plant of which it is fond. Sprays of tansy decoction help prevent the invasion of these pests and you can also install fly traps that contain pheromones. But in the event of an infestation, the shallots concerned must be uprooted and the plants must be burned because they are invaded by larvae.
A shallot that is watered too much runs the risk of being invaded by phytopathogenic fungi Responsable of maladies cryptogamiques such as white rot or mildew for example. As a preventive measure, water very sparingly, place the shallots in the sun, in loose, well-drained soil, if possible on a mound, and space the plants sufficiently apart so that the air can circulate well.
Finally, to limit the risk of shallot charcoal, crop rotation is recommended. If gray spots appear shortly after planting, the plants should be uprooted and burned.
Harvest your shallots
We harvest the shallot bulbs, which are also called cloves, in order to eat them cooked or raw. For example, the gray shallot is harvested around July, after 7 or 8 months, and can be kept for a good semester provided it is stored in a cool room. No need to heat it since it does not fear negative temperatures.
More generally, shallots are harvested when foliage begins to turn yellow. It is recommended not to wait until it is completely dry. With a digging fork, the bulbs should be lifted gently so as not to injure them. This is very important because a fork in a clove compromises the shelf life and the risk of rotting is then high. Remove the excess earth that has interfered between the cloves.
Place the harvest on the ground or on the terrace, but above all in broad daylight and wait a few days to give the leaves time to turn brown and the residual soil to dry. It will be easier to remove afterwards by simply shaking the shallots. The finally completely dry foliage must be cut with scissors 3 cm from the bulb. Finally, the shallots can be placed in well-perforated plastic boxes to be stored in the cellar or in the laundry room.