Allotment Experiments: Echalote Grise
Having given up half of my allotment, I was worried I wouldn't have the space any more for the kind of growing experiments I love to do. Thank goodness for the discovery of Echalote Grise, the strongly flavoured gourmet shallot (aka echalions or banana shallots, a variety I've always wanted to grow) which is planted in the autumn. Isn't it great to find something which can be planted out now?
To the left are some I bought from my local supermarket. Now most books warn about using shop bought edibles as seed. I'd certainly agree with them about garlic and potatoes*, but these British grown shallots look pretty healthy to me. On the right are some sets I bought from Edwin Tucker, a new supplier for me to try** and theirs was by far the cheapest I could find. However, they're still about twice the price of my supermarket ones for around the same number and weight.
Will I get what I pay for? Will proper seed triumph over shop bought? Will I be able to save any of my crop for next year's planting? Let the allotment experiments commence...
Thanks to Karen, who by simply having a packet of culinary Echalote Grise in her house when I visited, provided the kick start I needed to regain my allotment experiment mojo :)
* = my previous experiments have proved just how poor a crop of supermarket sourced garlic can be. As for potatoes, shop bought ones aren't certified as virus free. That's a risk I'm not prepared to take, though I know some plot holders who do.
** = and on first impressions, they're very good with their speed of delivery