|ALLIUM cepa Aggregatum Group - Shallots|
Liliaceae; native to western Asia.
Germination: Best sown indoors at a temperature of 68-70°. Seeds can also be sown outdoors in situ after all danger of frost is past in the spring and in a warm soil. Indoors and out, sow them at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds and expect germination in 10-12 days. Formerly only propagated from bulb divisions, however, there are now true-to-type seeds that are a much more economical way to grow them.
Growth: Transplant when there are at least two true leaves. Space plants closely: 30-35 plants per foot and in rows 10-15 inches apart. Site in full sun in a sandy, loamy, rich soil. The root system is shallow, so water frequently. Shallots are day-length sensitive: in the North and the South, plant in spring for a late July harvest, but in the South they can also be sown in the fall for harvesting in the spring. They are frost hardy and will remain in the ground over winter without rotting (provided drainage is good).
Appearance and Use: Grown for their edible, tubular leaves and brown-skinned, edible bulbs that break apart in clove-like divisions. Harvest the leaves as needed for fresh use. The leaves will yellow to signal when the 1-2 inch bulbs are ready to be harvested. Use fresh or store them at 32-35° and 60-70% humidity. Dry them before storing. Commonly used in French dishes, they can also be substituted for onions and scallions in any recipe.
NASA Seeds in Space
"Now why do you think a plant would look like this? That’s how I’d always get caught up in this stuff. Botany by imagination," Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief