In this issue...
Featured Products
From Our Friends
Around the Farm
Cooking with Onions
Fun Onion Facts
All Your Questions Answered
About Dixondale Farms
Join Us on Facebook!
Affiliations
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Common Planting Questions Answered

January 2014
frasiers3

  

 

Happy New Year! We're looking forward to a new season of helping you grow lots of big, healthy onions. 

 

Each year, as customers start planning and planting their onions, some common questions arise. In this issue, we'll provide answers, so you can get your onion plants off to the best possible start. 
 
How should I prepare my beds before the plants arrive?
Select a location that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day, and till it thoroughly. Prepare beds 4 inches high and 20 inches wide. The soil must be fertile and well-balanced; if it isn't already crumbly and loose, work some compost into it. The best compost is the rich, dark, "finished" kind, high in phosphorous and nitrogen. If the soil is too acidic, work in some agricultural lime. You can check the acidity using a simple soil testing kit or electronic tester.  

 

We also recommend using our Dixondale Farms Onion Special Fertilizer (10-20-10). Make a narrow trench 4 inches deep in the center of the bed, spread one-half cup per 10 linear feet of row in the trench, and then cover it with two inches of soil. Plant your onions to either side of the trench, never on top of it. Direct contact with the fertilizer can damage your onions.

Can I store my plants before planting? 
 

Yes, for about two weeks. Leave them dry, and store them in a cool, dark location. Do NOT put their roots in either water or soil. Don't worry about them looking or feeling dry, because onion plants can survive for up to three weeks on the resources stored in their bulbs (we're calculating in a week for shipping). Once you plant them and water them thoroughly, they'll "shoot" new roots and green tops.    

 

When should I plant? 
With our transplants, the general rule is to plant the onions six weeks before your last estimated spring freeze.

 

How should I space my plants?
P
lant one row on either side of the fertilizer strip, about 2 inches from the edge of the bed. The fertilizer will spread through the entire bed when watered, and your onions' roots will find it.

 

 Planting Diagram

 

We recommend that you space your onion plants 4 inches apart, so they have plenty of room to grow. If you want to enjoy some green onions during the season, you can plant the onions a little closer together than you normally would -- as close as 2 inches apart -- then pull every other onion as necessary. You should finish doing so before they start bulbing.

 

How deep should I plant them?

Don't plant the bulbs more than 1 inch deep. If you plant them too deep, you'll get longer, narrower onions; higher planting allows them to round out nicely, though if you plant too shallow, they may end up with a flatter shape.

 

How do I protect my onion plants from frost?

While onions are frost-hardy, it pays to protect them from a hard freeze. Loose, well-cultivated soil provides insulation, as does mulching them with straw or leaves. We also recommend that you water the plants in very well before a freeze, to provide additional insulation.

  

A pre-planting application of a balanced fertilizer (10-20-10) will help onion plants survive cold temperatures. A healthy, well-fertilized plant can usually take temperatures down to 20� F without any damage. 

  

Finally, a larger plant will have a greater likelihood of surviving, since it has more resources available in the bulb. 

 

Bruce's new video, How to Spot Freeze Damage, can help you make sense of how to determine and handle freeze damage.

  

Everything You Need to Know

The questions we've answered here represent the most common ones we receive early in the season. If you have other questions, you'll find lots of helpful information in the Learn All About Onions section of our Web site, especially our FAQ page, as well as the Q&A answers in our back issues.

 

 

Happy growing,

signature

Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

Featured Products
After-Planting Growing Aids 

 

This month, we highlight several products that will help you maximize your onion crop, protect your plants, and encourage their growth throughout the season. They include a fertilizer, an organic foliar feed, and two fungicides, one chemical and the other organic.

 

a-sulftate Ammonium Sulfate Fertilizer 21-0-0: Once your onion plants are established, they'll need a good source of nitrogen to maximize growth and bulbing potential. This product is exactly what onions need to generate more foliage and, therefore, more rings and larger bulbs. Our Ammonium Sulfate is actually good stuff for all vegetables, so don't hesitate to buy in bulk.


OmegaGrow
OmegaGrow: This exclusive, all-organic foliar feed has everything your onions need to grow big and strong. OmegaGrow provides a rich source of nutrients that slowly break down and release nitrogen into the soil, continually supporting root growth, top development, and yield, but never harming the environment. 

  

 

OxiDate OxiDate is a simple, ready-to-use organic fungicide/bacteriacide. It's EPA registered, offers a great alternative to copper-based products, contains no chlorine or ammonia, and leaves no harmful residue. This eco-friendly formula stops powdery and downy mildew, phytophthora, brown rot, blights, and bacterial wilt on contact, all without harming the environment or posing a risk to human health or safety. 

Mancozeb Mancozeb Flowable Fungicide with Zinc: This liquid fungicide, which contains zinc, iron, manganese, ethylene, and bisdithiocarbarmate, does an excellent job of preventing fungus damage to plants. It protects against downy mildew, tip blight, stemphylium leaf blight, botrytis, white tip, and more.

From Our Friends 

School Garden Harvest  

 

A repeat customer tells us,

 

"I just ordered our onions for this year's school garden at Oak Forest Elementary in Humble, Texas.  Thought you might like to see a picture of one of our 5th grade classes during their onion harvest last May. It's clear that the 1015 onion harvest is one of the highlights of their gardening year!"

 

Great job, kids! Keep it up! 

  
Got some onion-related photos to share? Click here for submission tips. You just might see your photo in a future newsletter!
Around the Farm bruce
Distinguished Visitors

 

We're hosting a visit next week (January 15-17, 2014) from members of the Direct Gardening Association (DGA), a trade association for catalogers and online marketers. After the DGA Winter Conference in San Antonio, the group will tour Dixondale Farms and help us celebrate our Centennial.  

 

On Wednesday evening, January 15, we'll start Western Night with a Texas barbecue and music by Country/Western singer Trey Wilson. On Thursday, we'll host tours of shed, farm, and ranch, along with helicopter rides. Thursday night is Tex-Mex night, with entertainment provided by the local Balet Foklorico youth group. 

 

We look forward to spending some time with our gardening colleagues!

Cooking with Onions
Classic Onion Pie
  • 5 cups onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 1 cup low fat Swiss cheese, grated
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Saut� onions in olive oil until tender and translucent. Add ham and grated cheese. Combine sugar and flour with seasonings, and add to slightly beaten eggs. Add milk to egg mixture. Put saut�ed onion, ham, and cheese in a pie shell; pour milk and egg mixture over onions. Bake in pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for 35 minutes, or until custard is set and golden brown. Serve warm.

 

An up-dated classic from the 1950s, this pie can be served as a light meal or savory side.
 
 
 
Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association. If you have a recipe you'd like us to print, email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Fun Onion Facts

 

The world's largest onion, weighing in over 18 pounds, was grown by Mr. Peter Glazebrook of the U.K., according to dailymail.co.uk.

  

Mr. Glazebrook broke his own onion growing record, having previously grown one just two ounces smaller.

 

This gentleman is no stranger to gardening competitions, having produced the world's longest parsnip, measuring 18.5 feet, which is 36 times longer than a normal parsnip.

Hats off to you, Mr. Glazebrook! 

All Your Questions Answered 

 

We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on when to order your onions and how to find your frost and freeze dates, as well as for tips on planting, caring, feeding, harvesting, and storing them.  

 

You can also print our electronic Planting Guide, or download a PDF version for easy reference.

 

And be sure to review our short videos, on topics ranging from bolting and fertilizing to how onion plants are harvested and how they deal with cold weather. 

About Dixondale Farms


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, request a catalog, or for growing tips and cultural information, visit our Web site.

 

Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success. We've posted answers to frequently asked questions about growing onions on our FAQ page. You can also go to the Learn section of our Web site for growing guides. And of course, we're also available from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 877-367-1015, or e-mail us any time at customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Facebook Icon Join Us on Facebook!

 

Join the community of friends and growers on our Facebook page! You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, photos, recipes, and even weather information and other tips.

 

The FarmLogs Year in Review has some really interesting statistics about farming in 2013. We're proud to have helped Texas rank as one of the states with the most farms! See the full infographic at http://farmlogs.com/year-in-review-2013/.

 

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phone: 877-367-1015