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Old July 29, 2016   #1
Father'sDaughter
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Default Shallots & Shallot Seeds (not sets)

Two years ago I ordered French Red Shallot sets from two different vendors.

One vendor sent me long, pointed sets that were still joined in clumps of three of four at their base.

The other sent me larger round lumpy things that were a darker red, some also still joined.

Looking for on-line images for French Red Shallots I came up with some that resembled both, plus more that looked nothing like either one. So I planted both in the fall and the following summer harvested a decent amount of each, both looking just like what I had planted.

I replanted a smaller amount of both versions last fall. The long ones didn't survive the winter. The round ones did and grew just like they did the year before, except two put out huge flower stalks. I left them and they both bloomed, but then one broke off, the other I cut last week right before I pulled the shallots. Now I'm sitting looking at this partially dried thing full of seeds and trying figure out if they're worth saving and planting.

I still don't know if this or the long one are the "true" shallots, and if not, what are they? The information I've found on line so far is either very vague or very contradictory.

One site says true shallots do not produce seed. Another says that all shallots will go to seed in year two.

Some tell me that all shallots that throw flowers are hybrids and seeds won't grow true or are sterile; then I find sites with instructions on how to harvest and grow shallot seeds with no mention of hybrids.

And yet another site says that if shallot seeds grow, they will only produce one bulb, like an onion. So, does that mean they're hybrids?

Last year I was gifted a pack of seeds from an unknown variety of shallots which flowered. The tray the shallot seedling were sharing with my onion seedling was blown over this spring, and I couldn't tell what was what when I planted them out. They are all close to harvest time, but all I see are single bulbs--nothing seems to have divided which makes me think the hybrid single bulb theory might be correct.

Anyone ever grow shallots from saved seed? What happened?

I'm doing a germination test on a few seeds to at least rule out the sterile theory.
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Old July 29, 2016   #2
swamper
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I have read that true shallots will produce seed and it is probably virus that inhibits flowering in some cases. The french gray shallot may be different from most shallots. I have a few favorite red shallots Sante and Camelot that flower and set seed freely.

You'll typically get a single bulb that if replanted will divide the second year.
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Old July 29, 2016   #3
Father'sDaughter
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Originally Posted by swamper View Post
I have read that true shallots will produce seed and it is probably virus that inhibits flowering in some cases. The french gray shallot may be different from most shallots. I have a few favorite red shallots Sante and Camelot that flower and set seed freely.

You'll typically get a single bulb that if replanted will divide the second year.


Thanks for the input! I was wondering if they behaved like garlic rounds grown from bulbils and usually not divide until the second year.
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Old August 1, 2016   #4
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A friend and I ordered a yellow shallot from William Dam this year - I planted mine later so mine are not as far along. But I was in her garden yesterday and hers are all gone to seed. I was amazed to see that, and I sure hope the seeds are viable because a much easier way to increase your stock..

I have read, about 'multipliers' in general I think (or maybe it was just for potato onions) , that if you plant a small bulb you will get one large one, but if you plant a large bulb you will get many small ones. Sooo... the idea would be to plant the large to get small ones for planting, and plant the small to get large ones for eating.

Maybe true shallots don't follow the same pattern.
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Old August 1, 2016   #5
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The seeds did germinate so I'm waiting for the flower head to dry before I harvest the rest of the seeds from it. I'm going to start a good number of them next year and see what they do!
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Old August 2, 2016   #6
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All shallots can produce seed. Some do so very rarely, others very frequently. There are seed selected varieties, and there are hybrids. I agree with the virus accumulation idea.

Plant the seed and see what you get. I would wait for second year before deciding what to keep or eat. Some will do a big round the first year and you want to see how they divide.
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Old August 2, 2016   #7
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All shallots can produce seed. Some do so very rarely, others very frequently. There are seed selected varieties, and there are hybrids. I agree with the virus accumulation idea.



Plant the seed and see what you get. I would wait for second year before deciding what to keep or eat. Some will do a big round the first year and you want to see how they divide.

That's exactly what I'm planning to do. Thanks for confirming I'm on the right track!
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Old August 2, 2016   #8
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I have grown shallots from seed. About 3/4 of them sent up seed stalks the second year. I culled them. I saved bulbs for replanting from the plants that didn't go to seed. Cause I want shallots that rarely, if ever make seed.

When I was growing onion seed this summer, about 1/4 of the plants didn't make seeds, they just divided and made huge bulbs. Ha!!! Potato Onions!!!! I wasn't intending to grow potato onions, but since I was paying attention, and liked what I saw, I might as well grow them now that they are in my garden.
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Old August 2, 2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joseph View Post
I have grown shallots from seed. About 3/4 of them sent up seed stalks the second year. I culled them. I saved bulbs for replanting from the plants that didn't go to seed. Cause I want shallots that rarely, if ever make seed.

When I was growing onion seed this summer, about 1/4 of the plants didn't make seeds, they just divided and made huge bulbs. Ha!!! Potato Onions!!!! I wasn't intending to grow potato onions, but since I was paying attention, and liked what I saw, I might as well grow them now that they are in my garden.

I'm kicking myself for pulling my accidental potato onions two years ago.

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Old 3 Days Ago   #10
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So what happened to your shallot seeds? Did they grow as only one shallot? And nice and big?
I can't seem to find much info about this anywhere. I was thinking to plant from bought seed next year instead of the shallot, because I can space them closer. All shallots that you buy look nice and round, which suggests they didn't come from sets, which results in a 'tapered near the roots look.', So I'm thinking their method must be more productive (commercial growers always are). I have very limited space, so I try to optimize.
Also, how close did you space them?
This year I used some shallots I got from my aunt, they grew pretty well, most of her sets had visible cut scapes inside, however I didn't get any on my plants, it must probably be related to storage conditions and growing conditions as well.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #11
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I only started a few seeds and they are out in the garden growing amongst the rest of the onions. They're at least a month away from harvest time.

I also planted some of the shallots I harvested last year (because they were good and worth growing), and every single one tried to flower again. This time I cut all the flower stocks off.

I'll report back once I see what I get.
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