UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Garlic and Shallots

Garlic and shallots grow beautifully over the winter in Santa Clara County. Plant garlic and long-season shallots in the fall for harvesting in June–July. Be sure to choose a spot where you can withhold water for the last several weeks since the bulbs need to dry out as they mature. Fast growing Dutch Red Shallots can produce two or even three harvests over the course of the winter.

For more details:

How to Grow Shallots

How to Grow Garlic


Shallot Varieties

Here are some shallot varieties that we have found grow well in Santa Clara County.

Dutch Red Shallots: Fast growing Dutch Red Shallots can mature in just 90 days. Small, red/copper-colored, round, mild-flavored shallots, slightly larger than French Grey. Easy to grow and quick to harvest. May be planted in fall, late winter, and early spring in our climate for three possible harvests. Easy to grow in containers. Will produce large number of offspring. 90 -100 days

Dutch Yellow Shallots: In shape, exterior appearance, and taste, these shallots are virtually indistinguishable from French Red, except for having very pale-yellow flesh. Mild, easy to use. 110-120 days

French Grey Shallots: Small, slightly irregular, pear-shaped, greyish/brownish shallots. Prized In French cuisine as the “true shallot” or “griselle”. Its unimpressive appearance belies its intense, distinctive, and highly concentrated flavor, which is well-maintained in cooking. Slower to emerge and harvest than others. 120 days

French Red Shallots: There are several different varieties; we've grown ones similar to big reds found in California supermarkets. Large, torpedo-shaped shallots are bigger than Dutch Red. Mild, almost sweet, pinkish flesh. Easy to peel; easy to use raw. 110-120 days


Garlic Varieties

Here are some garlic varieties that we have found grow well in Santa Clara County.

(When we are able to offer garlic bulb assortments for sale, the abbreviations listed are what we write on the bulbs to identify them.)

Asian Tempest
Purple-stripe hard neck. Like most of the Asiatic garlics, grows quickly and typically harvests very early, described as “weakly bolting,” produces scapes of prodigious size. A fiery challenge.

Chesnok Red
Purple stripe hard neck. This garlic likes cold weather. We re-planted in March 2018 to experiment with a second crop, harvested in about 95 days with excellent results. Mild and sweet, good roaster, stores well for its variety.

China Stripe
Hard neck. Easy to grow, reliable performer, produces large mild-flavored bulbs. Harvests early. Descends from a garlic (allegedly) found in a market in Beijing.

Chopaka Mountain
Large artichoke soft neck, named for a mountain in the Pacific Northwest. Similar in most respects to Inchelium Red, to which it is probably related, but having a typically more pointed taste. Chopaka Mountain stores well and is an easy going, friendly garlic for the cook.

Early Italian
Purple stripe soft neck, artichoke type. Produces large, mild-tasting heads (complements rather than controls). Excellent roasted, stores well.

Inchelium Red
Soft neck, classic artichoke type. Typically very large heads having many cloves. Easy to grow, very reliable if relatively short-storing; excellent baked, often braided.

Julius Starr
Hard neck. Handsome, robust, rich-flavored, exceptionally long-storing. Variety found initially by Sue Zaslaw, from a forgotten source, but now unavailable elsewhere. Rare.

Kay’s Backyard
Soft neck, artichoke variety. Highly reliable, super productive, exceptionally long-storing for its type. Produces large heads, mellow tasting. Said to have “typical Italian flavor.”

Creole hard neck. Aptly named, because it does keep exceptionally well. Reliable, with large, sturdy stalks, easy to grow, especially for a hard neck. Usually described as “weakly bolting” referring to the rather droopy scape it produces, which in turn suggests its having adapted to the warmer winters, like ours, usually thought better-suited to artichoke types. Keeper is useful for all applications. Mild and mellow, exceptional roaster. In short, a keeper.

Kettle River Giant
Soft neck artichoke variety with many striking purple cloves. Whereas artichoke-type garlic is often dismissed as short-lived and boring, KRG is very lively and better storing than similar garlics, such as Inchelium Red. Perhaps because of its Pacific Northwest origin, KRG is thought to prefer a climate colder than ours. A pleasant, all-around garlic, KRG benefits from a period of cold storage.

Korean Mountain
Hard neck. Astonishingly large and beautiful purple-stripe heads, characterized by large cloves. Despite name, thought to have originated in the Republic of Georgia. Reputed to be very hot. This has been exceptionally productive for us.

Purple stripe hard neck. Similar to Chesnok Red, though its raw taste is very hot. This variety produces large, easy to peel cloves. Good storage, excellent to roast. Origins plausibly South Central Asia.

Porcelain hard neck. Can produce huge heads. Heavy feeder. Fiery at first then mellow. Very long standing.

Porcelain hard neck. Large, easy peeling cloves. Music produces exceptional scapes, which are useful for stir-fries, pesto and much more.

Rose de Lautrec
Creole hard neck. Exceptionally beautiful, much sought after, medium large heads. One of a handful of related varieties from the Lautrec region in the South of France. Light, subtle, elegant taste. Easy to grow and very reliable, except that it tends to have double cloves which can be mistaken for single, so can be a little tricky to plant. Typically a fairly early harvester. Excellent storage.

Russian Giant
Porcelain hard neck. Large, hot, spicy, purple-striped. Produces very big heads having few large cloves. Excellent storage capability.

Spanish Benitée
Creole hard neck, rocambole type. Similar to Spanish Roja. Spicy and exceptionally good raw. Excellent choice for vinaigrettes.

Spanish Roja
Purple stripe hard neck, rocambole type. Excellent, mild flavor. Good storage.

Hard neck turban variety. Named for its Chinese city of proximate origin. Asiatics tend to start and harvest early (compare to China Stripe). Raw, its initial flavor is typically fiery. Rich and mellow when cooked.

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