Monty Don urges you to wait until December 21st to plant your shallots – here's why

The garden expert recommends planting on the shortest day for perfect results in 2022

harvesting shallots
(Image credit: Future)

While thoughts of the longest day may seem distant at present, summertime is very much on Monty Don's mind – but all for a good reason. 

The BBC's Gardeners' World presenter has revealed that your actions on the shortest day, December 21st, will influence what you harvest on June 21st. Suddenly, the longest day feels a lot closer. 

Therefore, if you are looking to add some tasty crops to your raised garden beds, your actions over the coming weeks are important. In his blog (opens in new tab), Monty shares what you need to know. 

'Plant shallot sets close to the shortest day (December 21st), and they will be ready to harvest on the longest day (June 21st),' Monty explains. 

harvested shallots in a basket

(Image credit: Future)

But what happens when the shortest day arrives? Monty recommends choosing a patch of soil that is dry enough not to stick to your boots before planting them 'directly outside, 9 inches apart in rows about a foot apart.' The garden expert adds that this will make them easy to hoe. 

'Do not completely bury them but leave the shoulder of the bulb and tips clear of the soil,' he adds. Monty Don's winter garden ideas are particularly relevant to this month, but his time-sensitive advice doesn't end there. 

'I suggest covering them with fleece until March, by which time they should be well rooted and able to resist birds tugging at them,' he explains. 'Check them weekly to firm back any that have been dislodged.'

bunch of harvested shallots

(Image credit: ClarkandCompany/iStock/Getty Images)

However, if you struggle to find dry soil, Monty suggests planting them into plugs and 'burying them deep enough to sit in the compost' – even if the 'soil is wet and heavy for months on end.'

Plus, sharing his greenhouse ideas, he adds that you can keep them in a glasshouse or a cold frame over the cooler months – before planting them in the soil once it has warmed up. 

For the best varieties, Monty suggests investing in Red Sun, Longor, or Topper bulbs that offer a sweet flavor you can enjoy on June 21st. 

Thanks to Monty, we officially have permission to put our small vegetable garden ideas into practice later this month. Visions of midsummer no longer feel so far away. 

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Gardeningetc, Livingetc, and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.