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How to Plant Shallot Seeds

fresh shallots image by Brett Mulcahy from

Shallots are a member of the onion, or allium, family. They are loved by cooks for the subtle flavor they add to recipes, as they are milder than onions. Many varieties of shallots are available, but they all have one thing in common: They can be expensive in the produce aisle. If you want to save money and grow your own, you'll be happy to know they don't require a lot of fuss. Shallots are usually grown from bulbs, or sets, but they can also be started from seed.

Start your shallot seeds between eight and 10 weeks before the last frost date for your area. Seeds take some time to germinate, so they must be started indoors. If you wish to plant shallots directly into the ground, you will need to plant bulbs.

Fill a large seed tray with a seed-starting soil mix and moisten the soil. You want the soil to be moist, not wet.

Scatter the shallot seeds on top of the soil, then cover with 1/8 inch of potting soil mix.

Cover the tray with a sheet of clear plastic wrap and set the tray in a window where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight. The plastic wrap can be removed when the seedlings begin to push up on it and are a few inches tall.

Cut the tops of the seedlings as they grow, keeping them at a height of 3 inches.

Transplant your seedlings to a garden bed as soon as the soil can be worked. Shallots need well-draining soil with some organic matter or compost worked into it, both of which can be purchased at any lawn and garden center.

Dig your rows just deep enough so that when you plant your shallots, the tops will be no more than an inch below the soil. Space your seedlings 4 inches apart, and if you have more than one row allow 1 to 2 feet between rows. Be gentle when lifting your seedlings from the seed tray.

Water regularly, keeping the soil moist to a depth of 6 inches below ground. Remember to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.


If shallot bulbs develop on top of the soil after transplanting, just leave them. It will do the shallots no harm.

If shallots do not receive consistent moisture, the bulbs will not produce a healthy crop.

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