Checking Up on the Shallot Trial

Since I pulled up one of each variety of the garlic and shallots for the Garden Tour this weekend, I’m going to use the opportunity to share my observations of the different varieties at this stage of growth.

Shallot TrialWhen I was working on signs for the garden last week, I updated the maps for the garlic and shallot trial. Here’s the updated map for the shallots. I will be honest that as I’m looking at the varieties, I think we may have the wrong label on the (French) Grey Shallots and the French (Red) Shallots. Based on the growth habits and what they look like, I’m pretty sure the labels got switched somehow.

This is the ‘Sante’ shallot. It is the largest so far, and you can see that the developing bulbs are clearly red. The individual stalks also separated from each other easily. This was the first variety to start putting up flower stalks.

This is the variety we have labeled as the Grey Shallots, but I’m pretty sure they are actually the French Red shallots. The developing bulbs have a tinge of red to them, but they aren’t as large or colorful as the Sante shallots. There are also not as many stems in the clump, although it looks like they are still going to divide a couple more times.

The Dutch Yellow Shallots are clearly a different color than the two redder varieties. The bulbs are smaller yet than the previous variety, but there are more stalks. These were just starting to put on flower stalks.

This variety we have labeled as the French Shallots, but I’m pretty sure they are the (French) Grey Shallots. This variety is very different from the others! The leaves are much yellower than blue-green and there are LOTS of stems. They are much smaller and don’t seem to have started sizing up yet. They have not put up flower stalks yet either, which would make sense, since they seem to be further behind the others.

The Multiplier Onions do not appear to be any different than the shallots right now. They are more yellow like the Dutch Yellow shallots. They are also similar in size to the Dutch Yellow. They have put up flower stalks just like the shallots. We’ll have to see if there’s any discernible difference at harvest.

I’m a bit perturbed by the Elephant Garlic. It isn’t overly large yet, which isn’t a big problem. But the exterior skins/leaves seemed to be somewhat rotten or mushy. I’m not sure if that was an anomaly of the one I pulled or if there is something else going on there. At any rate, I doubt there is much I can do other than make sure it doesn’t get overwatered. Oh wait, we just had 2.4 inches of rain!

Here you can see all the varieties together. I don’t know what happened to the Elephant Garlic. This is after they sat out in the sun all weekend, then got rained and hailed on Sunday afternoon, so you’ll have to forgive some rough looking stalks. That’s not recommended treatment for anything, let alone non-mature shallots.

All the varieties except for the French (Grey, I suspect) and the Elephant Garlic had sent up the flower stalks. This is what the bed looked like before our Demo Garden workday this morning.

We had lots of shallot flower stalks! I feel like they need their own spiffy name. After all, we call garlic flower stalks “scapes,” so why shouldn’t the shallot flower stalks get their own name? I suppose I could call them shallot scapes. Or “shcapes” for short. Or maybe we should just make up something random? Who came up with the term “scapes” anyway?

(Okay, Wikipedia informs me that it is a botanical term referring to “a long internode forming the basal part or the whole of a peduncle. Typically it takes the form of a long, leafless flowering stem rising directly from a bulb, rhizome, or similar subterranean or underwater structure.” Apparently I missed a botany class somewhere.) This indicates to me that we would be technically correct to call the shallot flower stalks “scapes.” Maybe “shcapes” will catch on?

Sorry about that little interlude. Here’s what a plant looks like after removing the scapes.

You can see the spot where we broke/cut the scapes out of the shallot. They break off pretty easily, but you could also cut them if you want a cleaner removal. We tried to remove them as close to the center of the plant as possible. I’m a little concerned about the open stems being an opportunity for moisture or bugs to get down into the center of the plant, but hopefully it doesn’t cause a problem.

Now to find something tasty to do with my “shcapes!”

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About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and lawn care.

Posted on May 21, 2013, in Around the Garden, Working in the Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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