[Market-farming]garlic and shallots

Dave & Katharine Campbell dave.kathy at att.net
Mon Nov 1 20:48:31 EST 2004


My experience with shallots is in Iowa, not mid-Atlantic states.  Still, here goes:

Planting them shallow right after Columbus Day at 7" is about right, tho maybe a bit crowded.  I got my local welding shop to replace the rubber front tire on an old 24" bicycle with a steel rim with nine 3"-long-by-3/4"-diam dibbers studded on it. I wheel the bike along to dib in holes for garlic & shallots: they come out spaced 8" apart.  The rear wheel sometimes covers the dib holes, so next year I'll modify it to a tricycle rear.  I'm experimenting with shallot spacing, and trying some at 16" (every other hole) for next year, because mine really spread and I want them to have lots of room to get great big.  I sell my big shallots 4 for a dollar, and row run shallots (big and not so big) in net rope bags (get them from Fillaree) at $4 per lb.  We tag the bags with a logo-ed label: "Gourmet French shallots, certified organic, locally grown in Tiffin IA"

I've tried different shallots, and our comparitive taste tests say the gray French ones are superior.  After three years, we've convinced most our customers at the Iowa City farmers' market to ask for them.

I mulch mine, and it seems to work.  Presently, I hand mulch with straw.  I find weeds come up right through the mulch in the spring, so currently I remove the straw (with its too long stems) then to keep from fouling the wheel hoe. NEXT year I hope to use my brother's silage chopper to cut up the straw into shorter, more compostable, pieces and to blow them out over the whole patch.  Should be faster and much more manageable... 
  
Shallots are ready to harvest when some of the tops start to turn brown.  Just like garlic.  Here in Iowa, that's about Independence day.  You want to cure them by air drying in the shade for a couple weeks.  Again, just like garlic.

Pronunciation:  here in the midwest, we say SHALL-lots.  But my Brit customers say shall-LOTS.

Dave Campbell
Tiffin IA    zone 5b

-------------- Original message from MaggsMD at aol.com: -------------- 
What advice could you give about growing shallots in the mid-atlantic?  We planted them yesterday.  I hope that that was the right thing to do.  We planted them 7" apart just under the surface of the soil.  How do you know when they are ready to harvest?  I have heard that mulching shallots is not recommended.
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