I have never grown onion from seed. One of our local farmers markets, Frog Pond Farms, has always sold bulbs that produced a delicious onion so in the past I have always waited until I was ready to plant onions and picked up a bag of white or yellow and a bag of red onion bulbs for the garden. Initially this year was not going to be any different but when I got there I discovered they had a huge selection of shallot bulbs and if the truth be told I have never knowingly eaten a shallot so I thought I would give them a try with the onions. I have to admit I was/am blown away! This year we grew 3 ten foot rows of onions and about 15 feet of shallots, next year I am going to plant a ridiculous amount of these delicious and healthy bulbs.

I decided to do a little research on the shallot since it was my first time around with this veggie. I planted mine in early spring when the soil could first be worked and just harvested the last of it today. I am going to set aside some of the best bulbs and put those in a raised bed over winter and from what I have read they will be ready by early summer next year. My onions have always been decent in size but the shallots were fantastic, the smallest of the group probably only had four other bulbs around it, while the larger ones in the group were almost the size of my fist.

Shallots have some interesting health benefits to go along with their amazing flavor. They have flavonoids which have been associated with lower risk for cancer, heart disease and diabetes due to the fact that they are antibacterial, antiviral, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory. Shallots have been specifically linked to fighting stomach cancer. If that is not enough though and you need something a bit more superficial the sulphur content in shallots is believed to make your skin appear healthy looking.

What ever your reason for growing shallots next year give it a try you will not be disappointed, I promise! They grow well in heavy soil, they reproduce quickly and their flavor is absolutely out of this world!

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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