Curing Shallots?

mauirose(11)May 17, 2010

OK so 8 months later and the shallots leaves are still green. The onions are ready and some (but not all) of the shallots have bulbed so i am going to start to harvest them now anyway.

i pulled a few two or three weeks ago and tied them to a tomato cage to dry. Wrong technique. The leaves stayed pretty green but the bulbs became soft. More research. Oh. Shallots should be cured in a warm, ventillated but SHADY place. No wonder. Will try again.

Should i clip the green tops back before curing??

Here is my next batch to experiment with so you can see how green the leaves are.

Seems like i got yellow and pink shallots. Some of the pink ones have formed nice 1-2 inch bulbs (not pictured). Are these the ones i should save to replant?

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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Mauirose

I had the same experience with shallots, some of them bulb up and others did not.

I also had white and red sweet onions and I left them outside in my open porch some of them I cut the tops and others I did not. They all seem okay. Maybe someone can clarify the right way to do it.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 3:37PM
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I leave the tops. The plant re-absorbs the nutrients from the leaves and puts them in the bulb/wrapper. This is part of the curing process, and why it's done for a week or so in a shady spot that isn't hot - you don't want the leaves/wrapper to lose moisture to transpiration before the plant has finished preparing the bulb for storage. You also don't want it to be so cold that it stalls out.

I cure my garlic/shallots/onions on wood-chip mulch on the north side of my house, and in the dense shade under live oak trees in my yard.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Promethean is right -- cure them slowly in the shade, just like garlic. When nicely cured, they will last 8 months or more in storage.

I wonder if part of the lack of uniformity is due to a short day climate? Bulbing might be better farther north. I'm in the intermediate zone, and I'm still experimenting with seed and bulb-sown strains, but none of them have been ready to pull before August.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 7:34AM
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Shallots look good Sylvia, what type did you plant?

Thanks for the advice ps and planatus. Do the tops look too green to you?

Yes, i suspect it's a day length issue. But unlike onions i can't seem to find 'short day' shallots. i ordered these from Peaceful Valley last fall, seems like they included at least two varities.

i think if i save some of the smaller shallots that have bulbed up and eat the ones that didn't i will have better results next year. Is that right?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:49PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Thank you Mauirose, but I don't know the name, they were $2 at the local feed store, onions are granex red and white same price. After giving onions to everybody that lives near by, I still have a ton left. The starts were like a 100 in them, great bargain! I will plant them next year.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 3:14PM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

I think that shallots are a two year cycle. Big ones divide and make several small ones. Small ones plump up and make bigger ones. So if you plant small bulbs, you'll end up with big ones at the end that are good to eat. If you plant big ones, you'll get several small ones that are good to plant. So if you plant some of each, you should always have some to eat and some to plant.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Wow, Sylvia, how lucky is that? What a score!!

Susan i guess i will eat the ones that didn't bulb and try replanting some small and some large ones that did and hope for the best, thanks.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 1:27PM
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I am new to growing shallots, but from what I have read it seems that they are harvested after a good portion of the leaves die back - maybe june or july? If you have more I would wait to dig them.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:10PM
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I harvest mine when the leaves die back, and cure them in dry shade, then braid the bulbs with the tops and hang. Yes, they last a good long time in storage. I had bulbs left still in good condition this spring when I planted the seedlings I grew from seed, so I stuck them in the ground too. I use the onions first, the leeks last me until about January, and then I go to the cured shallots so I don't have to ever buy them from a store.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:31PM
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I'm going to put my oar in here because I don't understand why southern gardeners should have any trouble finding suitable shallot varieties for their gardens.

Growing shallots for me is fairly easy but Wikipedia (for whatever that's worth) tells me that they are originally from India. The latitude for India is about the same as the Georgia state line and then south to the equator.

I know that shallots are common in Southeast Asia at about 17° north latitude.

Johnny's entire selection of shallots are suitable from "35-65° latitude." That's no problem for me, I'm right at 48° north latitude but surely, there are suitable varieties for 35° and south.

Where are the southern seed companies in this?


    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 9:49PM
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i hear you Steve, i followed the Southeast Asia connection in my earlier thinking about this as well. Just haven't been able to find a source for 21° latitude shallots yet ; )

Summer solstice is only about a month away. Probably i should wait to pull the rest of the shallots until after that, just in case. So then that will be 9 months, good grief, i have plans for the spot the shallots are occupying! i think what is confusing me is that my onions are behaving perfectly~nice big bulbs, dry tops, good to go.

Thanks to everyone who commented.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 5:15AM
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There were some shallots developed in Louisiana back in the 50s or 60s that stay green nearly year round, and the tops are also harvested and used like green onions. Perhaps the breeders began with stock from a short day climate?

Here is a link that might be useful: louisiana shallots

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 6:46AM
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