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SHALLOTS GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Allium cepa
syn. Allium ascalonicum
golden shallot; French shallot, eschallot, echalotte (French);
khan kho (Vietnamese); bawang merah (Indonesian, Malaysian); scalogna (Italian); schalotte (German); sjalot (Dutch)
Alliaceae, the onion family
Australians are often confused about what a shallot actually is, as we commonly refer to spring onions this way.
Elsewhere in the world the word 'shallot' is only used to describe a small bulb with a superb, delicate flavour.
To further add to the confusion, two close relatives, shallots and potato onions, are often used as synonyms.
The base of the shallot is composed of about twelve onions lightly attached to each other, its leaves are tubular
like an onion's, but shorter and thinner. Shallots come in various colours and can vary slightly in shape. The
tropical Asian or red shallot has a purplish skin with a pinkish interior.
The bulbs are a culinary onion with a superb mild flavour. They can be eaten raw, boiled, pickled, baked, or fried.
Shallots are long keeping and will store for up to 12 months.
Plant in a sunny, well-drained position. Soil is best prepared a few months before planting. For a good crop,
shallots require a rich, loam soil. Avoid using manure, as too high a nitrogen content will reduce the keeping
quality of the shallots. Check the pH and add lime to correct acidity. The pH should be at least 6.5. Traditionally
shallots are planted on the shortest day and harvested on the longest. In subtropical areas March - April is a
better planting time. In cooler areas the recommended planting time is late winter or early spring. Do not plant
the bulbs too deeply, push them into the soil so the tops are still visible. Space the bulbs 15-20 cm apart. A
single bulb should multiply into 6-12 bulbs.
Shallots are a perennial but are commonly treated as annuals. Harvest the shallots before flowering, when the
tops start to fall over in autumn. If they are left in the soil too long, the cycle will start again and bulb
size will decrease markedly. Spread on a wire screen in a cool, well-ventilated shelter. Because they rot easily
when injured, they should be cured in the shade before the clumped side bulbs are separated off. This will help
prevent any breaking of tissue. Store in a cool, dry place or hang up in open weave bags. Save the good-sized
bulbs but not the largest, for re-planting.
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock
can be sent to South Australia
. No tubestock can be sent to
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