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Sep 29, 2010 04:22 PM

Growing Herbs and Shallots

[NOTE: We've split this discussion from a thread on the Home Cooking board: -- The Chowhound Team].

i think you need to get the french gray shallot starter bulb sets.... e.g.,

good luck. if i weren't such a slug, i'd do that, too.

and if i were smart, i'd ask the folks on the gardening thread about their experience with their own good sources (no reflection on the aforementioned link)....

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  1. Here's a source that I like:

    I think they can be grown from seed but I've never heard of anyone actually doing it.

    12 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      you know, it'd be worth churning up some fresh earth for those little shallot babies, huh?

      1. re: alkapal

        Well, they are so expensive that container gardening with them would be worth it. Throw some herbs in there.. You know the ones that cost $2.99 a bunch at the grocery store?

        1. re: Hank Hanover

          I grew shallots this past summer and they were easy. Don't even know what kind they were, found them at the local Southern States store and they were just marked "Shallots". There were maybe 12 bulbs in the bag. I now have a basketful of the little buggers. I have French Gray bulb sets on the way from Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. At $19.95/lb it sounds ridiculously expensive given the discussion here, but if you plant them all you'll have enough to see you through the winter, give some away to your friends, plus have enough to plant the following year's crop. Scheepers, like many places, only ship shallot sets in the fall so order soon!

          1. re: Hank Hanover

            which herbs for the autumn here in the mid-atlantic?

            1. re: alkapal

              What's your climate zone, alkapal? Just guessing, I'd imagine things like chives and mint could overwinter---especially under a cloche.

              1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                chives are great year round. i've got a 15 year old (at least) chive clump in a pot. mint... i guess it is always around. sage, too. hmmm. zone 6b?

              2. re: alkapal

                Hi alkapal,

                I'm in Queens (NYC) and in my back yard have mint, chives, sage, and thyme that made it through all of last winter with no problem at all (lots of snow and frigid temperatures). These are all still going strong!

                This year I've added rosemary and something that was called, "Texas tarragon" when I bought it (I think it's actually "Mexican tarragon"). It's supposed to be a perennial and, at present, is doing very well.

                Next year I hope to add oregano and see how that does.

                There are other herbs that are annuals that do well during the summer like dill and basil. However, dill is pretty much done by now unless you started a second batch during the middle of the summer and by this time basil usually starts tasting a little harsh.

                'appy 'erbing!


                Glendale is hungry...

                1. re: Glendale is hungry

                  take off some rosemary cuttings and plant them in containers for growing indoors over the winter.

                  our rosemary outside hasn't survived winter, but the potted plants do quite well.

                  did you use the texas tarragon? we planted it last year, but i never used it. it didn't last the winter either.

                  italian oregano will winter just fine. i've had a plant (ever-growing) for years. don't know about mexican oregano.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Hi alkapal,

                    I've used the Texas tarragon and have found that I need to use quite a bit of it to obtain the desired "licoricey" level of flavor in a recipe (perhaps twice as much as the recipe calls for). As best I can tell it's nowhere near as strong as the usual French tarragon.

                    Thanks for the rosemary tip. Will do that!


                    Glendale is hungry...

                    1. re: alkapal

                      seems like all you gotta do with rosemary is yank off a branch of it and stick it in soil/dirt and before you know it, you gotta terrific new batch of rosemary. one of my starters is right out side the front door on the porch for easy pinching. otherwise, I gotta go out to the side walk and pull some from the overhanging giant plant that grows to the sidewalk. other neighbors are seen grabbing my rosemary and that makes me smile. I have enough of it to spread around the country after all.

                      the shallots are in that same pot by the front door but they're everywhere else also.

                      don't forget about the shallot greens too. cut up baby fine on top of split pea soup or twice baked potatoes and mixed into deviled eggs, so good and not too strong.

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        While one can start rosemary from a cutting, it's so cheap to buy a tiny one, I say why bother? You only need one so no biggie. I've been known to take large quantities of rosemary as hostess gifts :) And I use loppers rather than pruners for cutting it back.

              3. re: alkapal

                Definitely. I don't see them being container garden-esque since there are 15-30/# and should be planted 6" apart. And by the time they're ready to harvest, they're not going to be very ornamental. But "some fresh earth" would be my preference.