Shallots are among the tastiest members of the onion family. They also are among the most expensive.

In Maine, most people plant their shallots as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, and they harvest them in late summer. As far as I can determine, local seed stores sell shallot bulbs only in the spring.

But if you want larger shallots earlier in the season and are Zone 5 or warmer, you can try planting in the fall – but you will have to get the bulbs from online companies.

Pick a sunny area with loose, weed-free soil. One suggestion is to use the area where you just harvested your potatoes. Add compost and/or fertilizer.

The recommended planting time is first frost – early October along most of the coast. Plant the shallot bulbs about a half an inch deep, broad end down and pointed end up, about 4 to 5 inches apart in rows that are about a foot apart.

Because Maine is on the edge of the recommended area for fall- planted shallots, mulch the plants with straw, pine needles, leaves or something similar once the ground freezes.

In the spring, remove the mulch and keep the area well weeded – shallots hate competition. They will be ready to harvest in late June or July.

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