It seems that every time I try some sort of new homesteading skill for myself, I learn a new respect for the folks who subsisted on the skill or who do it for a living. Take saving seed, for instance. Letting the garden go to seed is not difficult- I'm actually pretty good at that- but gathering and cleaning seed is a chore. Now, granted, the folks who do it for a living are probably assisted by mechanical devices, but it's still a somewhat mind-numbing experience to clean seed out of the seed heads of several different alliums…come to think of it, it was a tuckus-numbing experience as well, because I was at it for a few hours today and sitting on an as-yet un-cushioned bench for the duration. First I cleaned the seed out of the only onion that had a chance to develop a flower head, which didn't take too long. Then I cleaned the seed from the only leek flower head that seemed to be mature enough- the other two were still green and didn't want to give up their seed, so I didn't force the issue. Then I cleaned the seed from several (maybe nine or ten?) shallot seed heads. Which brings me to my next revelation.
I still don't know how to grow shallots from seed, but I'm going to guess that since they're probably really onions, I can grow them like onions. My success rate with the alliums is kind of fifty-fifty; I can grow the dickens out of garlic, and the shallots did pretty well, but I'm not doing so well with the onions. See the shallots in the picture in my header? That was this year's shallot crop. I sure hope I do that well with the seed, because I'm not ordering any bulbs for next year. Part of this whole homesteading thing is to learn to be self-sufficient (not that I believe in true self-sufficiency because even the homesteaders had to drive into town occasionally for things), so learning to save seed against the day when you can't get it is a good skill to have, just in case. Learning how to turn those seeds into food is an even better skill I think, and I'm still working on that one, too.
Don't forget to let me know if you'd like to try so-called shallot seeds. Offer good while supplies last, as they say.