Fall planted shallots are mush

I planted some Dutch Red and French Red shallots this past fall.

The ground froze in January, but our coldest low was +9, hardly noteworthy.

The French Reds are mush. Maybe one or two appear possibly viable, but zero top growth so far.

Dutch Reds do have some top growth, but even those seem to where are least the upper/outer layers of those bulbs are also mush.

It wasn’t THAT cold and wasn’t all that wet, either.

What gives? Why would this happen?

My soil doesn’t freeze, so I have no clue. I do want to add that my French Gray shallots I planted in the fall have been utterly pathetic compared to the Dutch Red. They have no sprouts whatever and freeze whenever I blow on them.
I do cover the Dutch Reds after that first nasty freeze. If I am feeling merciful, I cover the French Grays. So far the Dutch Reds have kept their foliage, so maybe they are just the better variety?

I used to plant shallots in the fall along with my garlic and never lost any that way, but I usually had a good snow cover before the very cold weather hit. I have lost garlic when it froze out. (Didn’t have any shallots planted at that time so I can’t compare.)

If you can get seedlings you can spring-plant shallots; it’s probably on the late side to be starting them now, but it might go OK - better than nothing, I’d think. Wish I could tell you where to get seed, but I don’t know. I got lucky and was able to buy seedlings at an Ace garden center two years ago and I really liked them.

Quick edit: I see from a search that there are on-line sources, and Amazon lists some. But I didn’t go further.

Thickly planted shallot seedlings available in 6 packs around here (at Ace and others) in the spring. Two six packs will probably give you 40-50 seedlings.

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How deep did you plant them? And do you use mulch? Also, what time? I always have more trouble with fall planted shallots wagging to come up too soon, and a small percentage would come you under the mulch and fair a little poorly. I’ve switched to putting my seed shallots in the fridge from January until March or April and planting when the soil is workable. I get much cleaner shallots and less rot in storage.

The ‘mush’ description also makes me wonder if this is a disease issue instead of temperature.

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I planted them so that the top of the bulb was at the surface. I only put about a quarter of an inch of compost as mulch because I read that unlike garlic, shallots can’t really push through thick mulch that well.

I suppose it could be disease, but I’ve never had disease issues with alliums before, at least not this type of thing.

I planted these in mid November. From Filaree Garlic Farm.

Are you able to get even your shorter-storing shallots to overwinter in the fridge?

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I only have French red, which keep more than a year at room temp. So in the fridge is no problem. I plant shallots so the top is about an inch below the surface, and it’s usually a good idea to mulch heavily once the soil starts to freeze. They’re nowhere nearly as hardy as garlic. Of course, you have to be on top of pulling the mulch back come spring. As you noted, they can’t come through mulch very well and they get smothered. Yet another reason for the spring planting, you can just mulch around them as they come up. Of course, the downside is you’re planting them at the same time the other garden stuff is ramping up.

Everything pops up in winter in my variable zone 7. Garlic, too. Mulching might be hard to work with.

I had green sprouts on my garlic BEFORE the ground ever froze here.

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I hear you on variability! Timing can be tricky, because just when you think it’s cold enough, it warms up again. I prefer to err on the late side. In Kansas (about your latitude, but colder zone), I wouldn’t plant until late November.

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I’ve theorized that it was not the cold or even wetness that caused them to rot.

I took apart one of the mushy ones and found what appeared to be little tiny worm-like or maggot-like things inside, only much smaller. Possibly Allium leafminer? I wonder if the bulbs were contaminated and the damage from that critter caused them to rot.