January 2016
Temperatures across the country have been fluctuating lately, from spring-like to wintry and back. If you have already planted, you know that freezing is a definite possibility, so you'll need to protect your onions from the cold. While onion plants can survive normal frosts and even moderate freezes, a hard freeze -- defined as more than four hours of cold below 25˚ F -- can seriously damage your plants.

Luckily, there are ways to outwit Old Man Winter.
Proactive Insulation
If you expect a freeze, there are several ways you can insulate your plants in preparation. One is to cover them with fabric or mulch. Coverings help further by protecting the plants from the wind. Another freeze protection tip that may come as a surprise is to leave collected snow and ice on the soil around the plant. It holds the heat in the soil around the bulb and root. Watering before an expected freeze is also very effective -- it actually insulates the plant and keeps the soil warmer.

How to Spot Freeze Damage
Not all freeze damage is obvious right away. Check your onions immediately after even a brief hard freeze. Translucent or water-soaked skins indicate freeze damage. This kind of surface damage is survivable. Continue to check your onions for several days for mushiness.  Pull up one or two and cut into the bulbs at an angle to expose the inner rings. If the rings are mushy or translucent, those onions should be discarded.

After-Freeze Care
Your plants will need watering after a freeze, since the ground is typically dried out afterwards. They will need time to generate more carbohydrates, which is their life source, and that may take a couple of weeks. When new leaves emerge, your plants should continue on the road back to robustness. Check your plants more often for the next few weeks just to be sure.   

While we can't control the weather, we can try to limit its effects. If you pay close attention to the weather forecasts and protect your plants from the big freezes when they come, you'll literally reap the benefits come harvest-time.
Happy gardening,
Bruce & Jeanie
Products for Healthy Onions 
The following growing aids include a fertilizer, a foliar feed, and fungicides. All will help you maximize your onion crop, protecting your plants and encouraging their growth throughout the season. 
For Established Plants.  Ammonium Sulfate Fertilizer 21-0-0: Your plants will need nitrogen to maximize growth and bulbing potential. This product helps onions generate more foliage and, therefore, more rings and larger bulbs. Our Ammonium Sulfate is actually good for all vegetables, so you can buy in bulk. Apply 3 weeks after planting, and continue every 3 weeks until onions start to bulb. 

OmegaGrow Nitrogen for the Soil.  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. Spray the first application 2 weeks after planting and continue every 7-14 days until your onions start to bulb. 
Disease Zapper (Organic).  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. Apply at first sign of disease, when tips of foliage turn brown, then spray every 5-7 days. OxiDate works best as preventative or "early curative" by applying spray when conditions are conducive to disease, but no symptoms are to be seen yet.

Mancozeb Fungus Prevention.
  Mancozeb Flowable Fungicide with Zinc: This liquid fungicide contains zinc, iron, manganese, ethylene, and bisdithiocarbarmate, and 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. One bottle will treat 7 bunches for an entire season. 

Spray every 10-14 days after planting for best results.

Around the Farm
Our Own Onion Garden
We recently started our first little onion patch near the office. Many of our employees are tending the containers of onion plants. 
"These hands-on onion growing sessions are not only fun, but they help us  understand customer experiences  firsthand, so we can better guide you
through the growing season," says Emily Lord.  
"We also get rewarded with some fine homegrown onions!"
From Our Friends
We'd like to congratulate our customer Raul Vonnegut of Olalla, WA. Raul recently harvested an Ailsa Craig onion that weighs about 3- 1/2 pounds!

Ailsa Craigs are known for their large size, but these guys are whoppers. Raul's been a customer since 2011, and we hope he enjoyed eating this one as much as it seems to have loved the TLC he obviously lavished on it!
Send Us Photos of Your Award-Winning Onions!
If your Dixondale onions have won an award at a fair or festival, please send us your photos! They can be recent or from a while ago. We would love to publish the award photos in an upcoming newsletter. Mail them to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.
Cooking With Onions
Crusty Onion Bruschetta
  • 1 French bread baguette (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 cup pizza sauce, canned
  • 1 medium onion, cut into paper-thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Parsley flakes (optional) 
S plit bread in half lengthwise. Pull out some bread from center of each half, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Beat cheeses and herbs with fork and spread mixture along length of both bread halves. Place a ribbon of pizza sauce and a single layer of onions over cheese mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake on baking sheet at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until onion is tender and tips are slightly blackened, but crust is not too dark. Sprinkle with dry parsley flakes if desired. Cut crosswise into narrow strips.

Makes 8 servings. 

Recipe and photo courtesy of the National Onion Association. If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to print, please email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.
Onion Plant Variety Chart
Here's an easy way to compare Dixondale onion plant varieties in your day area. You can use this reference chart to make growing decisions based on size and storage potential, onion color, and days to harvest. This table also includes specialty varieties and leeks.  
See Your Zip Code Below? Time To Order!
Is your zip code on the list below? If it is, now is the time to order your onion plants, so they will ship at the right time for your planting area.

Q & A: Your Ideal Planting Time
Q. When should I plant?

A. The recommended planting time is 4-6 weeks before your last average frost date, if the weather is agreeable.
All Your Questions Answered
We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on what varieties to order, how many plants are in a bunch or bundle, and how to find your frost and freeze dates, as well as for tips on planting, caring, feeding, harvesting, and storing onions. 

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 Facebook on topics ranging from fertilizing and dealing with cold weather to how onion plants are harvested. You may need a Facebook account to view the videos.
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 . You can also view our online catalog We're available from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 877-367-1015, 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 Facebook and Pinterest!
Join the community of friends and growers on our Facebook page. You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, photos, recipes, weather information, and other tips.  

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Recently, the Dixondale Customer Service Staff planted their first onion patch together. Check it out!

We're on Pinterest too. Check out our pins , which cover every aspect of onion-growing -- including photos and stories from fellow growers, how-to articles, and a wide variety of guidance for growing the best onions ever.

You can also join us on Instagram, a global photo community where we share our favorite photographs of all things Dixondale