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


  1. Have been thinking about planting these! How timely. Thanks for reminder. They are the best shallots....!

  2. Petra - I haven't grown them before. I always like to try something new as well as experimenting!

    Esther - they like sandy soil, so you might be able to squeeze some in somewhere?

  3. I'm growing shallots and garlic over winter this year, too. Mine aren't as flavorful sounding as yours though. Will have to be on the watch for these.

  4. well you've well and truely sparked my interest

  5. Your post has reminded me that I bought some 'Echalotes de Bretagne' from a French supermarket in September, for a similar such experiment. Better get a move on so thanks for the nudge VP. Will be interested to in your results.

  6. Helen - there's garlic and red onions on the plot as well :)

    CS - welcome! Are you going to have a go?

    Anna - we'll have to compare notes :)

  7. Oooh, this is one experiment I will be watching with great interest. Fancy shallots are one of the things I definitely want to grow, but I can't do it this autumn, no time and probably won't be here to harvest them. But this way I will get the benefit of your experience before I decide whether to plant supermarket shallots or "offical" seeds! You are doing a public service, glad you found your experimental mojo again.

  8. Janet - I'm really looking forward to this experiment, especially eating the results!


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