July 2018
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Cantaloupe season has wrapped up for 2018 at Dixondale Farms and that means we will now dive head first into preparing for the 2019 onion season.

The 2018 season has brought many unusual weather patterns along with it, and many of our customers have seen the effects of this weather with increased disease pressure in their onions.

Read on to learn more about ways to be proactive against disease pressure.

Happy growing,

  
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie   
Being Proactive Against Fungal Disease
We are receiving quite a bit of feedback from customers this season who are dealing with disease pressure they have never experienced before. Many growers have been lucky and rarely dealt with disease, but this season is not one of them. One way to maximize your crop's potential is to be proactive about disease prevention. Unfortunately, once disease is discovered, often it may be too late to salvage the crop without extensive effort and investment in fungicides. While you can treat, it is difficult to "play catch up" as disease spreads quickly through airborne spores. Not being proactive can lead to decreased yields once disease has spread. Too often, a wonderful onion crop spoils in storage due to disease 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. This season many parts of the country that may not typically receive large amount of rain have seen higher amounts that normal. Moisture in the foliage creates the perfect environment for disease in your onions. 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.  
 
What does this mean?
This 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 Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc for a conventional option and OxiDate for an organic option. 
 
Prevention Strategies
Here are some other tips for keeping your onions disease-free 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.
  • 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!  
From Our Friends
 
Check out James Romero's first crop of onions from Dixondale Farms! He grew Candy, Southern Belle Red, and Yellow Spanish in Albuquerque, NM. It is a great to see first time customers have such success. Hearing from customers like James is what keeps us excited to continue to provide onion plants to so many gardeners and growers.

If you have photos you would like to share with us, please email customerservice@dixondalefarms.com. We are always looking for photos to share in our newsletters and catalog.
Featured Products
Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc 
Mancozeb
Disease Prevention and Curative 
Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc is a liquid fungicide containing zinc, iron, manganese, ethylene, and bisdithiocarbarmate, and does an excellent job of preventing fungus damage to plants. It protects against diseases resulting from excessive moisture such as downy mildew, tip blight, stemphylium leaf blight, botrytis, white tip, and more. Spray on a weekly basis 3 weeks after planting and continue until 2  weeks before harvest for best results.

OxiDate OxiDate Organic Fungicide
Organic Fungus Prevention
OxiDate is an 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. It will stop 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. Begin spraying your o
nions and leeks 3 weeks after planting. Continue to spray every 7-10 days all the way to harvest. OxiDate works best as preventative or "early curative" by applying spray when c onditions are conducive to disease, but no symptoms are to be seen yet.
Cooking with Onions
Slow Cooker Brisket and Onions
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow or red onions (about 2 large onions), sliced into half moons
  • 3 1/2 pounds beef brisket
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Directions
Heat a deep sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and cook on medium-low to medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the onions have caramelized lightly.

While the onions are cooking, take the brisket out of its packaging and pat it dry. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat and turn on your vent or fan, if you have one. Sear the brisket until a golden brown crust appears on both sides of the meat. Remove and place in a slow-cooker insert, fatty side up.

Sprinkle the minced garlic over the meat. When the onions are lightly browned, pile them on top and around the meat. Mix the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce, and pour into the slow-cooker insert.

Cover and cook in the slow cooker on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or until the brisket is very tender. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving in the slow cooker set on WARM. (If your slow cooker doesn't have a WARM setting, transfer to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil while resting.)
The brisket can be sliced or shredded immediately and served with the onions and juices. Or let the meat cool then refrigerate overnight. Before reheating, scrape away and discard the layer of fat that has formed around the meat.

To reheat: Heat the oven to 300°F. Transfer the brisket and all its juices to a baking dish and cover tightly with a lid or two layers of foil. Warm in the oven for 1 hour or until warmed through (time will depend greatly on the size and shape of the brisket; cut into smaller pieces for faster reheating).

Yield: 8 servings.
  
Recipe from The Kitchn.   If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to share, please email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Around the Farm
Grand Marshal of the Carrizo Springs Fourth of July Parade

Bruce "The Onionman" was named Grand Marshal of the Carrizo Springs Fourth of July parade earlier this month. He was honored for his service in the Army from 1977-1982 in active duty and 1982-1998 in active reserves. Watch this video as he passes through town. 

The Onionman as Grand Marshal
Share Your Onion Photos
We need YOUR help!

Our 2019 catalog design process is off to a great start, but we need YOUR help! We are requesting photos of your onions. Any and all varieties are needed. Who knows, you might just end up on the front cover. 

Email your photos to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com or share with us on our Facebook page.
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.  

You can also read our electronic Planting Guide or download and print a PDF guide (which includes leeks). 

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.
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 or get growing tips and cultural information, visit our website .

New customer? Get on our 2019 catalog mailing list  here. We're available from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 830-876-2430, or e-mail us at customerservice@dixondalefarms.com .

Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success.
Join Us on Social Media!
Facebook Icon We invite you to join the community on our  Facebook page . You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, photos, recipes, weather information, and other tips. 
    
Don't forget to subscribe to our  YouTube channel! Our videos will guide you on selecting the right onion variety, applying fertilizer, the best weed control options, and more.   
 
We're on Pinterest too. Check out our Pins which include photos covering small space onion gardens, tasty onion recipes, planting tips, and more.

You can also join us on  Instagram, a photo community where we're sharing even more Dixondale photos.