Shallots grow, smell and taste similar to onions or garlic, but they are their own species. While shallots are normally propagated by bulb divisions, you can plant seeds of shallots, both red and yellow. According to Oregon State University Extension, a Netherlands seed company released the first "true shallot seed" in 1922. When searching for true-seed varieties, look for Atlas, Matador, Prizma or Ambition (all red); or Creation or Bonilla (yellow).
Sow seeds indoors in a garden flat in early March. Use a sterile potting mix for seedlings. Place the seeds on the soil, and cover them with 1/8 inch of soil.
Place the flat in a warm area with at least 6 hours of sun each day. Cover the flat with plastic wrap until the seedlings start to appear. Keep the soil consistently moist.
Water the seedlings frequently, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Keep the shallots no more than 3 inches high by snipping the tops with scissors.
Prepare your garden soil by amending it with compost. Shallots like a loose, sandy loam or other well-drained soil. The ideal soil pH is 5.0 to 6.8.
Place seedlings in the ground as soon as the ground is workable. Place them 1 inch deep and tamp the soil down firmly. Shallots should be spaced 3 to 4 inches apart, with up to 24 inches between rows. It is not a problem if your bulbs start to develop on top of the soil. Let them continue to grow.