May 2016
 
  
A big advantage of onions is that, unlike most garden vegetables, they can keep for months. Maximizing their storage time depends on a number of factors starting in the weeks before harvest. 
 
Stop Fertilizing  and  Reduce Watering 
It's possible to prolong the natural dormancy of onion bulbs, extending their storage time, by altering growing conditions just before harvest. If you stop fertilizing and reduce watering shortly before harvest, onions are much less likely to sprout or spoil after harvest. The yield may be somewhat reduced, but the storage time will be increased.
 
Curing Correctly
You also have to cure the onion properly to avoid both sprouting and spoiling. This requires a careful process of drying, starting when you harvest the onions. H arvest early in the morning and l et them dry in the field all day with the tops of one row covering another's bulbs to avoid sunscald.  Next, keep them in a cool, dry environment with low humidity and a  ventilation   source (like a fan set on low) for about two weeks while they cure.   When the onion's outer skin is dry and rustling, and the neck is tight and doesn't slip when pressed, the onion is considered cured.

Storing Properly

High temperatures and humidity during and after curing encourage sprouting or decay. Neck rot, a gray mold that attacks the top of the bulb, is common in onions not stored properly. Onions store best at a temperature of 33°F and a relative humidity no higher than 65-70%.
 
Handling with Care
Allow onions to warm slowly after you remove them from storage; otherwise, the warmer temperatures and higher humidity may result in condensation that leads to decay. 

If you follow this process carefully, you shouldn't have to worry about your onions sprouting or spoiling during storage. T he other alternative is to enjoy your onions right away.

Happy harvesting,
  Jeanie and Bruce
Check This Out!
What happens when a psychiatrist becomes a hobby farmer in his spare time? In the case of Dr. Drew Ramsey, he becomes passionate about food, and goes on a mission to prove that carefully choosing what we put at the end of our forks can improve our health.

The founder of National Kale Day, Dr. Ramsey has authored several books on nutrition. In his newest book, Eat Complete, he addresses the 21 nutrients essential for brain health, including those in onions. The book also includes 100 recipes that will help fuel mental health.

Bruce was fortunate to meet Dr. Ramsey at the recent Viva Fresh Produce Expo. On the plane headed to the Viva Fresh Expo, Dr. Ramsey's son saw an article about The Onionman in a farming magazine and pointed it out to his father. The doctor met Bruce at the Expo and had to pose for a picture for his son. Here they are taking a selfie and discussing how onions are one of the most powerful and underestimated brain foods out there!

 
You can get Dr. Ramsey's new book here starting May 17. Meanwhile, his website includes many excellent sources of information on healthy food, including scientific studies. 
 
Cooking with Onions
Kale-Crusted Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions and Oranges
Here's a great recipe from Dr. Ramsey's  book!

This dish is superfood synergy. You've got the top source of thiamine for dinner, surrounded by all-star kale. Pork chops from an animal raised on a pasture will bring extra flavor, more nutrients, and better fats. Pork pairs well with sweet flavors like golden caramelized onions  and juicy sweet oranges, plus you'll get a boost of Vitamin C and phytonutrients from these and the kale. 

Patience is the key to caramelizing onions. Cook them slowly and lower the heat if they start to stick or burn around the edges.
  • 4 bone-in, pasture-raised pork chops
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large kale leaves, stems trimmed, torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary needles
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Olive oil spray or mister
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented 

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

 

Place the pork chops on a baking sheet. Combine the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the kale, rosemary, and thyme and pulse until chunky. Spoon the kale mixture over the top of the pork chops. Spray or mist the tops of the chops with the olive oil spray and transfer to the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chops are no longer pink in the center and the kale coating has started to brown.

 

While the chops are baking, prepare the onions. Warm the 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Serves 4.

 

Recipe and photo courtesy of Dr. Drew Ramsey. If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to print, please email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Onion Shipping Is Finished! 

Our 2016 season has come to an end. We wish all of our customers a great growing season! Our staff is here year-round to answer any growing questions you might have along the way.

 

Products for Healthy Onions
Fertilizers

We offer numerous products to help you fertilize and protect your produce. All our fertilizers and feed-and-weed products come in our re-sealable four-pound and twelve-pound bags.   

 

product of the month Start your plants with a 10-20-10 fertilizer to help establish their root systems. We recommend using Dixondale Farms Onion Special 10-20-10 first. 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.

 

To feed and weed your plants at the same time, try Dixondale Farms Feed and Weed 10-20-10. This is a unique fertilizer and organic pre-emergent herbicide all in one.

 

OmegaGrow Keep the soil nutrient-rich for robust onions. OmegaGrow, our exclusive, all-organic foliar feed, has everything your onions need to grow big and strong, and is gentle on the environment.
 
For organic feeding and weeding, All Natural Feed and Weed 2-5-3 is ideal. This purely organic product combines an all-natural fertilizer with the pre-emergent weed control power of corn gluten meal.
 
Around the Farm
Staff Onion Harvest
Here are some of our customer support staff with the office onion harvest. Abigail is shown in the top photo harvesting leeks while Janice and Bonnie show off their yield. It was a fun learning experience that has increased our knowledge about onions so that we can better serve our customers. Who knows, we might make it an annual event!
 
  
 
From Our Friends
Recently, we received this delightful photo from Susan Baker:
 


Susan tells us, "Here is a picture taken at our Children's Garden in Massachusetts where twelve children between the ages of 8 and 12 are mentored by Master Gardeners. Although I have been growing onions and leeks in my own garden for some time, this is the first year we grew Walla Walla onions and Lancelot leeks in the Children's Garden. We had phenomenal success with both. The picture shows four of our proud gardeners sitting behind their leek harvest. From left to right are twins Meghan and Chris along with James and Skylar."

 

Keep at it, kids! We're proud of you and your gardening efforts.


Send Us Your Photos
We enjoy receiving photos from our customers, including those of award-winning Dixondale onions. We'd love to publish yours in an upcoming newsletter. Just e-mail your onion photos to  customerservice@dixondalefarms.com along with a description and your city. You may see one or more of your photos in a future newsletter, or even in our print catalog next year!
Q & A: Protecting Onions Against Diseases
Q. How do I protect my onions from diseases?
   
A. Most onion diseases are caused by leaf wetness, and prevention is always key. Careful watering is one way to avoid them, but you should also spray your onions with a fungicide every 10-14 days during the growing season to avoid most diseases. 

If you're not sure if your onions are showing signs of distress, you can refer to our disease identification page to help determine what's wrong.
All Your Questions Answered
We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on which varieties to order, how many plants are in a bunch or bundle, and how to find your frost and freeze dates. We also have tips 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, request a catalog, or get 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 Social Media!
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. 
 
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And don't forget to find us on  YouTube and subscribe to our videos where Bruce 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.