13th July 2019 at 11:52 pm #70575
It’s a strange year for shallots. Some were ready and starting to dry out and I’ve harvested them already. Some still have upright fresh green leaves and probably need a few more weeks. In this dry weather the birds are making a right old mess and have even pulled out whole bulbs and clumps of bulbs of both shallots and onions and thrown them yards away. Should I harvest the rest of the shallots now even though they’re not ready and won’t keep well?
The advice about drying, freezing, dehydrating and pickling shallots all seems to be very contradictory and confused too. Blanche, don’t blanche, chop, don’t chop, salt, don’t salt etc. Does anyone have reliable recipes or sources of preserving advice?14th July 2019 at 8:51 am #70577
I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but just wondered if you had any spare netting you could put over the bed while the rest were drying?
Birds keep ripping up my paths too. Cardboard everywhere.
Sorry, unable to help on preserving.
Jan14th July 2019 at 7:28 pm #70581
Try to let them dry off to shrivel leaf. Once ready, I pull them and arrange on a barrow sieve on 5 gallon drums, well clear of the ground, for ,hopefully ,a sunny fortnight.It matters not if they get the odd shower but check that they are soil-free around the roots. Once dry, I clean the outer skins off, and any remaining stem/roots and store in mushroom trays in a ventilated covered rack against the north wall of the house.Generally good till Easter.Inspect as using and select and retain sufficient to replant next season.
Have found that the Brown shallots from supermarkets are a viable source of new sets but need soaking before planting to wash off any growth inhibitor14th July 2019 at 9:16 pm #70583
Oh Jan I wish we had more mesh! Used up all we have as the birds have been pecking away at everything from soil around lilies to squash leaves to roots of broad beans and sweetcorn. They even pecked a foxglove to death. Clearly desperate, despite the rich pickings elsewhere in the garden and the water we leave for them.
Thank you both for the suggestions.15th July 2019 at 10:07 am #70585
I feel for you.
How big is your onion patch? Maybe not much help but in the old days my dad used to stretch black cotton (sewing cotton) between sticks crisscrossing his lettuces etc to keep the birds off. It worked. About 10 cm high and lower at edges to stop them sneaking underneath.
If it’s not too large, maybe just surrounding the perimeter with a barrier may stop them wanting to land in a restricted space. If nothing else to hand and as it’s short-term possibly even several sheets of newspaper hung over string and clipped together with clothes pegs/bottoms buried could work if it’s not too wet and windy. (I haven’t tried it)
Finally, as a last resort, as blackbirds are the likely culprit you could always take the nursery rhyme route!
Enjoy your shallots.
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