Keep your kitchen garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Shallots, also Eschalots

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    P P P              

(Best months for growing Shallots in Australia - temperate regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Plant small bulblets, with stem just showing above ground. Best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 15 - 20 cm apart
  • Harvest in 12-15 weeks. Keep a few for your next planting.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Lemon Balm, Borage, Carrots, Beets, Silverbeet, Lettuce, Amaranth
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Peas, Beans

Shallots are grown from small bulbs kept from the main plant. Once they are established, you can keep your supply going indefinitely by saving a few bulblets each year.

A type of small mild multiplying onion, popular in French cooking.

Tree onions or 'walking onions' produce bulbs at the top of the stem.

Shallots are not spring onions and are quite different to the green bunching "Eschallots" (Allium fistulosum) which, just to confuse us, are also called shallots in Eastern Australia.

They are more like garlic in their growth as they form a clump of bulbs at the base of the stem.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Shallots

Use in any recipe instead of onions
Can be cooked whole, braised gently with other vegetables.
Sometimes pickled.

Your comments and tips

05 Jan 16, Jelenka (Australia - temperate climate)
I grew my first shallots and harvesting now. Some of the green stems on each plant have really swollen in one area the green stem, making me think as first time shallot grower that something is inside, but no, there is nothing there. Why have they swollen like that, they are healthy and delicious, the bulb. To add, on only one plant out of several there is a trio of small baby round bulbs on the end of one green stem. What are they and are they potential plants to be planted when it gets cooler?. Its mid January and not all the plant stems have dried and gone brown. I have eaten some or should I keep growing to get them bigger? I don't really want to lose the opportunity keep growing my own shallots. thanks for any tips and advice.
06 Jan 16, Prometheus (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Jelenka, I am also a first-time grower and hence not an expert... I would say though that what you have is either simply a natural genetic mutation or duplication - sort of like how you will sometimes find the embryo of a baby capsicum inside a larger one. I have no idea whether it could be replanted successfully but I would suggest using the biggest / healthiest bulbs for that task. There is no problem with eating them when they are young, but if you wait until 3/4 of the tops have dried and fallen over you will get huge bulbs in optimal conditions. You can also use the tops as spring onions - they are excellent!
04 Jan 16, Prometheus (Australia - temperate climate)
I've just grown my first crop of French shallots in a container, and would like to share a few tips / some advice from research and experience. French shallots are quite expensive if you buy the bulbs from a nursery or somewhere similar, though this can sometimes be worth it if you can find a unique or interesting variety. For mass plantings though, it's best to source the individual bulbs from a greengrocer or even supermarket. 15-20cm is a good spacing but I would err on the side of being more spacious if you wish to have larger bulbs - Klaus Leitenberger recommends 1 foot (30 cm) between bulbs. With soil fertility, probably the most important thing is to have plenty of rich organic compost. If you are using chemical fertiliser, eg. in a container, a regular feeding of balanced fertiliser with trace elements would work best, but be wary of fertilisers that are too high in nitrogen. This site recommends an Autumn planting for my climate, which is probably the best time of year overall, but I have found that an August / September planting for a Summer harvest also works fine - we have had weather from - 2 up to 42 C and they handled these fluctuations without stunting or disease setting in. The shallots are ready to harvest when about 3/4 of the plant looks dead / dying, the tops have yellowed and most have fallen over. Avoid the temptation to harvest too early, as they tend to swell at the end of their growth cycle. After harvesting, you just need to remove any large clumps of soil with your hands or a light amount of water, and then leave in a dry, full sun location for about a week. Some periods of light rain shouldn't worry you but if heavy rain is expected, you will need to move them to a dry and well-ventilated location. They are then good to store and use in the kitchen for at least a few weeks. French shallots are probably one of the easiest, tastiest and highest value crops you can grow in your home garden (I have seen them commonly in supermarkets for around $14 per kilo, sometimes higher). Like garlic, you get a large head from just planting a single bulb. If you are looking for recipes, they are used mostly in French and Indonesian cuisine (especially in French onion soup, which is divine with their inclusion). Happy gardening, P.
01 Jan 16, Gary (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Do I keep the small bulbs for next years planting ? when I do I harvest the shallots ?
04 Jan 16, Prometheus (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Gary, yes you certainly can keep the bulbs for next year's planting. The bigger cloves are best for this (you only need a single clove to get an entire bulb / head, like garlic; it's quite magical). Shallots should be harvested once 75%-80% of the tops have browned and fallen over (most of the plant above the soil will look dead). Do be patient, as they tend to swell in size at the very end of their growth cycle and will be smaller if you harvest too soon. Just pull or lightly wash off any large clumps of soil and leave in full sun to dry for about a week. They are then ready to use and should keep for at least a few weeks, if not longer depending on variety. Hope you enjoy your harvest - they are a wonderful vegetable to grow.
31 Dec 15, (Australia - temperate climate)
Have just harvested my 2nd crop. The original ones were from Coles supermarket vegetable section. Good luck
21 Jun 15, Brian (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Elaine, Shallots do not have prominent bulb on the end where Spring Onions do. Never seen Golden ones but if from Bunnings...Best of luck.
12 Jun 15, Elaine Beard (Australia - temperate climate)
I also purchased from Bunnings,Golden Shallots. Am hoping they will do okay as they really are expensive.Oh well, I am a learner at this gardening thing. Why on earth we mix them up with spring onions I shall never understand. :)))
23 May 15, (Australia - temperate climate)
I've read that onions shouldn't be mulched, but garlic should be, What is the rule for shallots? Am planting golden shallots from Digger's.
17 May 15, Bernice Sigley (Australia - temperate climate)
I live close to Bonalbo in northern NSW soil type heavy clayey loam Id like to grow french shallots to harvest the bulb for cooking is there a bulk supplier in Brisbane where i could obtain a few kilos of stock? The area is prone to winter frost but the days are generally warm with wetter hot summers thankoyu
Showing 1 - 10 of 77 comments

Post a question, comment or tip about Shallots

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Buy the app for iPhone/iPod, iPad or Android and support the Gardenate website!

Planting reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.

Hutchinson Software Pty Ltd, Armidale, NSW, Australia