I have always planted both garlic and shallots in October and I got the garlic planted in the ground last year in late October of 2018 but not the shallots. I ran out of time and then all the shallot bulbs were sold out. I know we can get bigger garlic bulbs if we plant in the previous fall (which I already harvested) and thought the shallots would be bigger too if planted in the fall. But I decided to plant some dutch shallots this spring to see how they would do as I really love shallots. I just found out I should plant french shallots in the fall and can plant the dutch shallots in either the fall or spring! They have a more delicate flavor than onions. I harvested them about a week ago and they are magnificent!
They are huge and I got many of them from about 10 bulbs. I picked them when the stalks fell down and started dying. They are now curing on the bench in a protected shady area on my portal. Curing means letting the stalks dry out completely before I take them off. The skins should be dry and be sure not to wash the dirt off. You can just rub off the dirt after curing. What a pleasant surprise for me!
I grow shallots instead of onions. Why? Because shallots are $4.99/pound and onions are cheap. Besides they taste wonderful sautéed in any dish. This season I grew Dutch shallot bulbs that I got from Payne’s nurseries here in Santa Fe. I like them a lot as they are not tiny like some other shallots are. So this weekend I picked all the shallots that I started last October-November. I got a ton! Well not quite, but a lot! Here is a picture of them ‘curing’. Curing shallots is about properly drying them so they last longer in storage for winter. After you pick them you need to let them dry out completely before cutting off the stems which takes about 3 weeks. Then cut off the stems when they are dry, put them in a mesh bag and put in a cool dark place. Where do I get mesh bags? Trader Joes puts their lemons and onions in mesh bags and I save them to use for my shallots and garlic that I grow.
The last few days I’ve harvested shallot scapes. They are just like garlic scapes in that they are the flower bulb. I pick it before it opens so all its energy will go into making the bulbs below the ground larger.
They are really delicious sautéed. We already made an omelet with cheese, spinach and scapes and also in some fried rice. If you see them on your shallots or garlic, cut them off but don’t throw them away!
The garlic I planted last fall in November is already 8 inches tall and growing like weeds! I just love planting it in the fall, putting straw over it and watering it maybe once a month in winter. It is the first thing to come up in early spring and will be ready for harvest sometime in late June-early July. Such an easy crop to grow and a must grow for cooks. Nothing like cooking with fresh garlic. Plus a bonus is bugs don’t like it and rabbits don’t like it-nice! This year I grew both hardneck garlic which tastes great and softneck garlic which lasts a long time. Just be sure to save some of the biggest cloves to plant for next fall. Bigger cloves=bigger bulbs the following year!