Yesterday I harvested my shallots. I thought it seemed like a good time to do it because they were evidently not going to grow any more. The leaves had flopped over and were mostly brown. Besides, with three days of exceptionally hot and sunny weather coming up they ought to dry off in double-quick time!
These shallots are ones whose parents are some of those which I grew last year on the plot I looked after in nearby Courtmoor Avenue. I have no idea what variety they are. This year I planted 24 of them. They split very nicely and each bulb has produced about 6 to 8 new bulbs, like this:
None of them are particularly huge, which I attribute to the fact that they have been growing in a partially shaded location. Still, they are an ideal size for pickling, which is what they are intended for.
Right now they are drying on racks made from wire shelves out of some of my mini-greenhouses, supported between pairs of upturned plastic crates (the ones recently vacated by my garlic). This allows air to circulate all round them, hastening the drying process.
For the time being I have not tried to separate the clumps (though some have fallen apart on their own). I think it will be easier to separate them without causing damage after they are dry, because they will inevitably shrink a bit.
As I said, most of these shallots are destined to be pickled, but I will select about 30 to become next year's planting stock.