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General information and discussion about cultivating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

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Old July 28, 2018   #16
Father'sDaughter
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I didn't keep notes, but IIRC the shallots always needed a little bit longer than the onions. Given how green the tops were, I could have left them in the ground a bit longer, but there at the stage where wet conditions will start causing rot which then seems to lead to insect damage.

I hope the rest of your season normalizes. We had cold weather into May this year and I have quite s few things (especially tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini) way behind schedule.
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Old July 28, 2018   #17
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Thanks, FD. I will try not to rush the harvest then, give them time. Yes, the weather has put harvest times way out of kilter - I just harvested peas that were planted under row cover in April! And tomatoes were well behind the normal timeline. We have had hotter than normal weather in July, but also more cloud and rain than is usual this time of year. The heat produced a big flush of ripening tomatoes and of course, all the lettuce and the arugula promptly bolted. Why is it such a challenge to have all the ingredients for a good salad at the same time?
The ten day into August is looking normal for temp and precip, so I expect the usual challenge with garlic and onions, to give them enough time to mature before it turns cool and wet.
I'm really looking forward to have some shallots!!
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Old July 31, 2018   #18
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This year I grew Zebrune (echalion in french, since they don't allow the name echallot for it anymore). It's unfortunately a 100% onion that goes around as shallot for some reason, the good thing is that it has good production potential and seems to handle the heat very well, and keeps green a long time.
Supposed to be very good for storing as well. Texture is hard and dense (which is closer to shallot than onion), taste is better than an onion, will have to make a more direct comparison with my old trusty shallots, but on the balcony the zebrunes did much better in little space.
The disadvantage is that they started very very weak from seed, not sure if all onions are like this, literally in 3 months you get a scrawny little plant that can't stay upright and is about 2 mm in diameter.
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Old July 31, 2018   #19
bower
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Zipcode, the onions leeks and shallots I've started from seed are all pretty small to begin with. The practice of giving them a "haircut" periodically does seem to help with thickening the stems, and of course feeding some high N ferts (fish emulsion in my case).
I do start them in a mass planted flat, and I've come to the conclusion that spacing makes a big difference to the size of your start. I experimented with onions one year and with my leeks this year, that I took a few out of the crowded quarters and potted them up into 9-cells to give them extra space. The difference it makes after transplant is really noticeable. If I had enough lights, I would pot all of them up into cells at some stage. Maybe I'll try potting up and out into the greenhouse in March or April instead, as that would harden them off too for a plantout in may.
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Old July 31, 2018   #20
Father'sDaughter
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I agree that the spacing and trimming make a huge difference when starting from seeds.

I've taken to using the inserts for 1020 trays (I think they are about 3x3??) and planting nine seeds in each, evenly spaced out. They are started in February, given diluted fertilizer every other watering, and get haircuts every few weeks. By late April when I plant out they have at least pea-sized bulbs and pretty thick stalks for their size due to the haircuts.
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Old August 2, 2018   #21
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Zipcode, this pic is what happened with my leek experiment. The three rows in the middle were potted up into individual cells, and this is how they look after some time in the field. On the sides, the ones from the mass planting can't catch up. Same thing happened with the onions, the ones from cells were bigger plants and in the end made bigger onions. I guess I should have done the same with shallots It would definitely be worthwhile if you have the space.
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