I have said many times that shallots is not my best vegetable, not by a long shot, I just can’t seem to grow them well enough for competitive shows. I do however manage to get enough of them to make a couple of dishes for my displays. The wet, cold Spring and Summer we had last year put paid to many of my shallots, the main reason being I just wasn’t able to get them out in time and when they were eventually planted out they took a long while to establish themselves.
This year we tried an experiment by growing them in strong, long, black plastic troughs or containers that I believe are widely used by the drug growers. They must be over 4 feet 4 inches in length with the channel 6 inches wide and only 3.5 inches deep and they seem to have a facility for automatic watering as well. These, along with a large amount of pots and lights were confiscated by the police and given to a small gardening charity. Lucky for me I gave a talk to this particular charity and they very kindly gave me some as they didn’t think they would be of any use to them.
It’s a shame that the police, if they are not allowed to sell them, can’t give them to the NVS, after all we are a charity and I’m sure we could find a way of sharing them out to members, provided of course they grow legally in them!
These containers were filled with a mixture of M3 from the land as well as soil, a 50/50 mix with the added Osmocote Exact Standard with an NPK of 15:9:12 – (Item 0026) The shallots were planted initially in 3 inch pots and eventually transplanted into the troughs 7 were spaced out in each one. They have certainly grown exceptionally well from such a shallow container. The containers were all left outdoors on a bench along the side of my polytunnel and they were just watered as and when required, nothing special. These are certainly in full sun all day and as John Branham told John Ellis in my earlier Blog, they do like the sunshine not the shade.
The purpose of these are to be used as stock plants and will be available, barring any disasters, from my catalogue in the Autumn. They have not been thinned out and left to their own devices as I don’t want them too large for selling on. Some are clumps of seven whilst others are only four and it’s noticeable that the ones with four are really good and could well make it on to my display. Next year I will do the same again but keep about 6 containers for show purposes and thin out the clumps to three on each one.
Since the beginning of June they have been fed weekly with our Peters Professional Liquid feed with a high Potash ratio of 9:9:36. (Item 0031) This is supplied by Everris who make the composts and it’s undoubtedly the finest feeds on the market. We are the only ones marketing this as we have had permission from Everris to re package them. I have used this extensively this year, particularly when plants are grown in containers and maturing and when the slow release element of the base fertiliser is drawing to a close.