Saturday, June 14, 2014

Shallots forever

At our last community food swap (which was outstanding, by the way - sausages! Lemon butter! Bread!) I was lucky enough to snavel a massive bunch of shallots, and was talking to our friend Anneke about our method of planting the root bit of veg like shallots and leeks. To my surprise, she was highly dubious and highly suspicious of the practice - she'd never heard of such a thing! Given that she's basically the queen of Bega Valley Seedsavers, and a well-known guru of all things to do with propagation (if you've seen Pip magazine, you will have seen Anneke's gorgeous house), I was super-shocked, as it's something we do regularly, and have had great success with. I thought I'd better do a little post to spread the good news, in case some of you are also unaware of the awesomeness of the perennial leek and shallot action that you can get for FREE, by saving your cut off ends from the compost.
The cut-off shallot root ends, headed to the garden for infinite re-sprouting
Basically, by planting the chopped-off root bits of your leeks and shallots, you'll get another leek or shallot. If you cut this one off at ground level, rather than pulling it out, you'll get yet another. In this way, you can pretty much have perennial shallots and leeks. The leeks do get skinnier with each successive re-growth, so won't go on indefinitely, but we have a few shallots in a pot out the front that have been going for well over a year. So next time you get shallots or leeks from the shop, market or your local food swap (if you don't have one - start one!), take the root bits out into the garden, make them a little hole, and bury them, roots down, with the soil level just above the cut top. They're great, because they don't take up much space, so you can just tuck them 'round the place as the root-ends avail themselves to you. Within a week, they will have sprouted, and you shall have shallots forever. 
Olive the mulching queen


  1. That is friggin AWESOME! You can just shove them in wherever there's a space! Thank you for sharing that one.