Growing Shallots – From start to winning!
Plant out your shallots in pots in December by sitting the shallot on top of a pot of compost but do not cover.
Place the pots in a green house or cold frame. The shallots will start to quickly form roots and grow shoots. Towards the end of March plant out the shallots in the ground.
When the tops start to die back, pull up the shallots and shake off the soil. Dry them off on a mesh or on the bench where there is good airflow.
The first job when preparing your shallots for show is to read the show schedule carefully as there may be two or three different classes and you MUST comply with any stipulated criteria such as fitting through an inch ring etc.
When preparing the shallot. Have a good look that they are all the same size with no damage. Clean off all loose skin preferably 2 or 3 days before the show and tie the neck of each shallot with raffia or string. Place the shallots in sun light to dry the skins; a nice nut brown colour is what the judges want to see.
The shallots should be ‘shown’ on a dish filled with dry sand with them displayed at an even distance apart. As a guide, judging shallots is often assessed from a maximum 18 points: 7 points for the condition and size, 4 points for shape, 2 points for the colour and 5 points for the uniformity of your selected shallots.
For once, the variety of shallot Clive favours isn’t a secret, it is just not known. His prize winning shallots were sourced from a friend who’s father had originally brought them back from France after WWII.