February 2017

 
  

Some of our customers already have their onion transplants growing in their gardens, while many others anxiously await the ground to thaw and their gardening season to begin. This month, we discuss the ways you can prepare for your onion growing season by shaping your beds, fertilizing your soil, and properly planting your onion transplants. Read on to learn more about preparing your onion patch.

Happy growing,
 
  
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie   
Preparing Your Onion Patch
Preparation ahead of time is crucial to your onion crop success. It helps ensure the proper growing environment to get your onions off to a great start!

Shaping Your Beds
We recommend growing your onions in raised rows for a couple of reasons: furrow irrigation and fertilizer application. Furrow irrigation is the watering method that we use in our fields growing seed to transplant and is also the method we recommend our customers continue to use when planting onion transplants. It allows water to flow along the shallow ditches betwe en the rows and soak up slowly.  

Onions do best when grown in raised rows measuring at least 20 inches wide by 4 inches high. Each row should be a minimum of 12-18 inches apart. Ensuring that your rows are sturdy and well-shaped at the beginning of the season can help reduce any irrigation issues later in the season. Pictured right is an example of raised rows that customer Paul Loyd shared with us.

Fertiliz ing Your Soil
The goal is to ensure your soil is well-balanced nutrient-wise and as fertile as possible. For conventional gardeners, we recommend our Dixondale Farms Onion Special 10-20-10 fertilizer.  If following our bed shaping recommendations above, you will want to dig a 4 inch deep trench down the center of your 20-inch-wide bed. Apply 1 cup per 20 linear feet of row down the center of the trench and cover the fertilizer with 2 inches of soil. Make sure to NOT plant directly along the fertilizer trench. The roots will eventually grow towards the fertilizer.  
 
For organic gardeners, we recommend our All Natural Weed & Feed 3-5-3. This unique blend of organic fertilizer is mixed with an organic pre-emergent herbicide (corn gluten) to provide weed control and the essential fertilizer ingredients your onions and leeks require. Apply 1 cup per 10 square feet across the top of the bed in both rows and trenches, lightly tilling or raking into the top 3 inches of soil. With the All Natural Weed & Feed 3-5-3, you will plant directly into the treated soil.
 
Planting Your Transplants
We recommend planting your onion plants about 4-6 weeks before your last freeze for your region. See our ZIP Code Chart to find your recommended ship week based on your ZIP Code. Watch this video of The Onionman discussing when to plant your onions. 
When to Plant Your Onion Plants

Your soil should be unfrozen and relative dry when you plant. You will want to plant your onions at least 4 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Planting any deeper than 1 inch will cause the onions to not bulb properly (you will end up with long, narrow bulbs). Plant further than 4 inches apart if you are growing for large, prize winning onions. Plant your onions 2 inches apart if you are wanting to harvest some green onions, and you will harvest every other onion in about 1 month.

As always, if you have further questions regarding preparing your onion patch or any other onion questions, feel free to contact us. 
From Our Friends
 
Sherman Clair of Marshfield, Missouri sent in this photo of two of his grandchildren, Allena and Jackson, with his Candy and Highlander onions. 

Sherman writes, "This has been a great year for my onion crop. I had a few problems, but was successful. The weather was wet which posed a drying problem. I had to put the onions on my flat bed trailer so I could dry them indoors. Many of these Candy and Highlander onions measured 4.5" on the Dixondale Caliper."

We wish Sherman and his helpers a great 2017 growing season and appreciate him sharing his 2016 crop photos with us!
Can You Identify this Onion Pest?
                    Adult Leafminer                 Leafminer Eggs  Photo courtesy of L. Donovall, Lancaster, PA
                                
These are Allium Leafminers. Native to Poland and Germany, Allium Leafminers have been expanding their geography to Europe and recently the US with the first infestation reported in December 2015 in Lancaster, PA.  Leeks tend to be the most damaged host, but infestations have also been reported in onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and green onions. 

Identification
Adults:  Small (~ 3 mm) long grey or mat-black colored flies with a distinctive yellow or orange patch on the top and front. Yellow color is also present on side of abdomen. Wings are held horizontally over abdomen when at rest. 

Adult females make repeated punctures in leaf tissue and both females and males feed on the plant juices. Leaf punctures arranged in a linear pattern towards the distal end of leaves may be the first sign of damage. Leaves can be wavy, curled, and/or distorted. In species with larger leaves, it is often necessary to peel back the leaves to find the insect. Both the leaf punctures and mines serve as entry routes for bacterial and fungal pathogens.  Literature suggests organic production and market garden production systems tend to be most at risk, perhaps due to insecticidal control in conventional production systems. 

Treatment
Systemic and contact insecticides can be effective. Options labelled for leafminers that may be effective include azadirachtin found in Dixondale Farms AzaGuard.
Featured Products
Fertilizers
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.


Onion Growing Success Kits
Our Onion Growing Success Kits offer products for each phase of an onion's growing cycle, including  the two fertilizers mentioned above. These kits treat approximately 10 bunches and include step-by-step growing instructions.  

Onion Growing Success Kit
We've gathered our products to help make you a successful onion grower!  $59.95 - SAVE 20%
  • Start plants out and establish root systems with our exclusive Dixondale Farms Onion Special 10-20-10 fertilizer.
  • Perform pre-emergent weed control at planting time with Treflan Herbicide Granules.
  • Boost nitrogen levels with Ammonium Sulfate three weeks after planting for more rings and larger bulbs.
  • Use Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc to control moisture-related issues.


Grow a healthy onion crop using all natural products in our All Natural Onion Growing Success Kit!  $62.95 - SAVE 20%
  • Our exclusive Dixondale Farms All Natural Weed & Feed 3-5-3 is perfect for pre-emergent herbicide prevention of weed germination and also feeds the onion with the exact micronutrients it requires.
  • Applying OmegaGrow Foliar Feed two weeks after planting adds nitrogen to soil for top results.
  • Oxidate Organic Fungicide Preventative and Curative addresses moisture-related issues.
  • AzaGuard Organic Insecticide controls onion thrips and onion maggots which are two of the most detrimental insects to onion crops. 
Cooking with Onions
Vidalia Upside Down C ornbread 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 large Vidalia onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried and crumbled 
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a 13 x 9 pan, add melted butter and onion slices. Bake for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the muffin mix, egg, milk, sour cream, cheese, and salt. Remove the onions from the oven and add the cornbread mix over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Loosen the edges with a knife and invert on a serving plate. Allow to cool slighly before cutting into squares.

Recipe from Southern with A Twist blog If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to share, please email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Around the Farm

Last month, The Onionman made a trip to  Vidalia, GA to see some Dixondale Farms onion transplants being planted. Each year, Dixondale Farms grows Yellow Granex onion transplants that are shipped to Vidalia, GA w here they are grown into sweet, delicious Vidalia onions. Check out his video and pictures below.
 
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 Web site .

New customer? Order your 2017 catalog 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.