Avoiding onion diseases in your crop is important throughout all growing stages. This month we'll touch on disease prevention strategies so you can grow the healthiest onion crop this season.
Only a couple more weeks of Carrizo Cantaloupe season left at Dixondale Farms before we dive back into 2020 onion season prep. We hope our customers are enjoying lots of sunshine and summertime!
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie Frasier
|Avoiding Onion Diseases at All Growing Stages
Those of our customers that are in the southern parts of the country are nearing harvest, while customers in the north are only several months into your growing season. No matter what stage your onions are at, preventing disease is crucial for a successful harvest.
One way to maximize your crop's potential is to stay proactive about disease prevention throughout the entire growing season. Too often, a wonderful onion crop spoils in storage before it can be completely consumed. In nearly every case, it's because fungal diseases were acquired while the onions were still in the ground.
All onion storage diseases share one starting point: leaf wetness. If you get more than 20 inches of rain in your area annually, conditions favor the development of such diseases. Spring of 2019 brought more moisture for the majority of customers. Sadly, once an onion becomes obviously diseased, it's too late to do anything to save it. Prevention is the key here. You have to take steps to block the diseases from ever taking hold in the first place.
That means treating your plants regularly with fungicides. You need to keep fungal spores from attaching to the leaves during the growing season, which is why a preventive fungicide program is so important -- whether chemical, or all-natural. We offer both below in our Featured Product section.
Here are some quick tips for keeping your onions healthy from planting through storage:
- Use pre-emergent herbicides during bed preparation. Onions don't like to compete with weeds.
- Rotate the crops every three to four years.
- Avoid fields with any disease history.
- Plant in areas where there's good drainage and air movement to promote rapid drying of foliage, and be sure to orient the rows to take advantage of the predominant airflow.
- Avoid overhead irrigation.
- Stop fertilizing your onions about a month prior to harvest, or when they start to bulb.
- Stop watering once you see the first top fall over, or about a week before harvest.
- Harvest only after the onion tops are well matured. See the From our Friends section below.
- Cut the tops when you don't feel any moisture when you rub right above the neck with your thumb and forefinger.
- Harvest and handle bulbs gently to avoid wounds, and don't let them get rained on.
- Promptly cure the bulbs in a well-ventilated area, so the necks are completely dry before the crop is stored.
- If you see any damaged or rotting onions among a stored batch, remove them immediately, hopefully before they have a chance to taint the others.
If you'll follow these steps, your stored onions are much more likely to last until you've eaten them all!
We hope your crop is off a great start! For many of our customers, spring arrived late. If you have growing questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
Contact Customer Service at (830) 876-2430 or email
John and Karen Hall of Turner, AR shared this photo with us of their onions drying in the field. We always tell customers to wait until most of the tops have fallen over before starting to harvest them. Once they are pulled from the ground, we still recommend continuing to let them dry a bit in a dry environment such as a storage shed or garage.
We appreciate the Halls sharing their growing photo with us and the rest of our customers! They are well on their way to a successful harvest.
Share Your Photos with Us!
We offer numerous products to help you fertilize and protect your onions. All our
fertilizers and weed-and-feed products come in resealable 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags.
Start your plants off right with our
Dixondale Farms Onion Special 10-20-10
to help establish their root systems. Our unique fertilizer is blended to include all of the micro-nutrients that onions require for optimal bulb formation. Both 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags are available.
4 lb. bags start at $19.95.
Once your plants are established, feed them
Ammonium Sulfate Fertilizer 21-0-0
to maximize growth and bulbing potential. This will help your onions generate more foliage and, therefore, more rings and larger bulbs. Both 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags are available. 4 lb. bags start at $19.95.
Keep your onion plants disease free. We offer
Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc
to help control diseases such as downy and powdery mildew, blight, neck rot, and botrytis. This product is a broad spectrum, protectant fungicide that prevents fungal and bacterial spores from forming on your leaves. Spray this product as a protectant on a weekly basis 3 weeks after planting up until 2 weeks before harvest. Use as
needed in the event of wet weather.
One pint starts at $19.95.
Protect your organic onion crops with
OxiDate Organic Fungicide
. OxiDate offers powerful disease control by killing fungal and bacterial spores on contact while remaining eco-friendly. May be used as a preventative and curative treatment on any type of fruit or vegetable. OMRI listed for organic production.
32 fl. oz. starting at $18.95.
For organic gardening controlling Botrytis, Tip Blight, Rust, Downy mildew, Powdery mildew, Spider Mites, Aphids, Whiteflies, and other insect pests, use
. Multi-purpose fungicide/insecticide/miticide - a 3-in-1 product. Kills egg, larvae, and adult stages of insects. Prevents fungal attack of plant tissue. This product can be used on vegetables, fruits, nuts, flower, and house plants.
Around the Farm
Carrizo Cantaloupe season is in full swing! Cantaloupe season is fast and furious, seven days a week. We only a have a few short weeks left and are eating up all the sweet cantaloupe while we can!
Pictured below is our full packing table where these 5 guys size and pack our melons into cartons before they are cooled and loaded onto trucks headed to Texas grocery stores.
Cooking with Onions
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium mango, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Baked tortilla chips scoops
- In a large bowl, combine the first 12 ingredients. Chill until serving. Serve with tortilla chips.
All Your Questions Answered
|We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on planting, caring, feeding, harvesting, and storing onions.
And be sure to review our short videos on Facebook. Topics range from fertilizing and dealing with cold weather to how onion plants are harvested. You can view these videos even if you don't have a Facebook account.
As the largest and oldest onion plant farm in the U.S., Dixondale Farms offers a wide selection of top-quality, disease-free, ready-to-plant onion plants. To see our complete product line or get growing tips and cultural information, visit our
New customer? Request your 2020 catalog
. 2020 Catalogs will be mailed in early October.
We're available from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 830-876-2430, or e-mail us at
Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success.
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