So, here is the deal. Last year and the year before I did onion sets, I was not impressed. So this spring (like February) I planted onion seeds that I harvested last summer, they made great onions that I harvested this summer. So I did all onion seeds this year (harvesting seeds is really easy and I strongly recommend doing it when you harvest next summer). The same can be said for the shallots.
I also did some shallots from seed earlier this year that have sprouted nicely. I also did some more with the onions. It was pretty easy. I just made trenches in my newly turned and amended soil and dropped the seeds in (about 1-2 inches deep).
For the garlic use seed garlic. They look just like the bulbs you get at the store and you break them into individual cloves and plant each one 1-2 inches in the ground (I also read and am going to try this year that you choose the largest cloves from this year’s harvest to plant for new harvest next year–want to get less reliant upon other people’s seeds).
Do all of these items now, in October and they will be ready to harvest in July (some before that as you need them). I plant mine in beds that will get later sown summer/fall veggies like hot peppers and fall kohlrabi. I also did elephant garlic last year and will do it again this year. Strongly recommend it!