Onions and shallots are particularly easy to grow and make the perfect low maintenance crop for beginner gardeners. They won't take up much space either, so you can squeeze a row or two in between other crops or even grow them in wide containers.Shallots are normally planted as sets (immature bulbs). They can be sown from seed, but most gardeners prefer to start from sets as they are quicker to mature, are better in colder regions, less likely to be attacked by some pests and diseases and need less skill to grow than seed.
Add organic matter, such as garden compost before planting and rake in a dressing of general purpose fertiliser. Plant shallot sets 25cm (10in) apart in rows 40cm (16in) apart from mid-November to mid-March. Gently push them into soft, well-worked soil so that the tip is just showing and firm the soil around them. Onions and shallots are remarkably undemanding and require only occasional watering during particularly dry periods. However, you will need to hoe between the rows regularly to keep on top of weeds. Any flowers that appear should be removed immediately to prevent onions from bolting.