It has been a very rainy September in South Texas so far. We have received just about our entire annual rainfall in the month of September with a few days to go. While the farm has been trying to dry out enough to plant, the catalog has been sent to press, and we have begun taking orders for your 2018-2019 onion season. Look for your catalog in the mail within the next month.
With many of you still enjoying your onion harvests from this season, we thought we'd give some quick storage hints to ensure you preserve your onions to their maximum storage potential.
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie
|Preserving Your Onions in Storage
Ensuring Maximum Storage Potential
You've spent countless hours in the garden, harvested your onions, and now it's time to ensure they are stored properly so you can enjoy them as long as possible.
Below are some tips for onion management that will help preserve your harvest.
Once the onions are dry, cut the tops down to 1-2 inches long, and store them in a cool, dark, dry place with good air circulation. You can use fans to help keep the onions dry, which inhibits decay. Keep onions more than a foot away from the wall in order to keep air flow moving through the room.
Never store onions with potatoes (they emit moisture) or put them in plastic bags (lack of air circulation reduces shelf life). We recommend our
mesh storage bags
. When properly dried, some onions can keep as long as mid-winter. Be sure to check your onions regularly and discard any that have gone soft or began to rot.
Separating Damaged Onions
Some onion storage diseases are caused by weather extremes and don't become evident until your onions are in storage. Unfortunately, there are no fungicides that treat onions post harvest, but following these steps can help you avoid storage issues. Be sure to avoid storing any bulbs that are bruised, cut, diseased, or have green tops or thick necks. All of these expose moisture to the other onions and can lead to rotting.
Identifying Diseases in Storage
Wondering how to tell if your onions have disease in storage?
Here's a gallery of storage diseases you should be aware of so you can throw any onions that may be infected.
is caused by excess moisture before harvest. The dusty green spores often appear when storage conditions are damp.
presents as sooty black spore masses. It enters through cuts or breaks in the skin or tops. High humidity and temperatures over 85° F promote its growth, and excess moisture in storage encourages its spread. Black mold lives on dead plant material as well as in the soil, so it's vital to clean up the garden at the end of the season.
is caused by a fungus carried on the onion seed. The first signs appear 8-10 weeks into storage, when gray spore masses and sclerota, black patches up to an inch across, appear on the onion's surface. This soon develops into a soft brown rot that moves into the bulb. The only way to avoid neck rot is to treat the seed itself with the right fungicide.
Fusarium Rot or Basal Plate Rot
is caused by excessive heat during the growing phase. It starts at the base of the onion in heat exceeding about 80
F, and proceeds into the bulb as a watery rot and bacterial decay. It usually effects just a few onions, but can pass between onions in storage.
Bacterial Soft Rots can strike when the temperature exceeds about 85
° F. These rots can be hard to recognize from the surface, because the onions may look sound; but when cut open, the inner rings will be brown and watery. Infected onions rot quickly, and have a pungent scent.
These pointers should help you dry and store your onions properly, so you can enjoy them well into the off season!
Selling roughly 1 billion onion plants each season, Dixondale Farms interacts with many people throughout the entire United States. We hear many gardening stories of friendship, family, and more. This story below really sums up what the gardening community is all about, and we thought we would share!
Farms, I was introduced to your onion plants no later than 2004 by a dear friend of mine and a customer of yours, Dr. Jack Worden. Jack was my optometrist, and when he found out I was a backyard farmer, he began supplying me with your onion plants. He insisted that I take at least 4 bunches every year and he would take no compensation in return. Turns out that Jack purchased bundles of your onions by the dozens. He took great delight in handing out these onions to his many friends and colleagues, sometimes whether they wanted them or not!
Unfortunately Jack became ill, and we lost
him 2 years ago. When Jack became
I began purchasing my own onions. I pay it forward like Jack did and give away onion plants to other gardeners, as well as introduce your farm to even more. Because he insisted that I had "lots of room", I still harvest some 200 Candy onions ever year and end up giving away most of those as well. When people rave about the size and sweetness of my onions (and they do), I tell them the story of Dr. Jack Worden."
- Syd Swearingen,
We appreciate Syd sharing this heart-warming story of friendship in the garden, and Dr. Jack Worden spreading the word about Dixondale Farms throughout the years with his friends!
Share Your Photos with Us!
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
, along with a description and your city and state. You
may see one or more of your photos in a future newsletter, or even in our print catalog next year!
Harvest and Storage Aids
Once you've harvested your onions,
they'll need to be stored until you're ready to eat them. Here are a few products
that will help you keep them fresh.
You can clip your onions like a professional onion harvester with these
Ergonomically designed for quick and easy removal of roots and onion leaves, our shears also work on all other alliums, including garlic and our own Lancelot Leeks. They'll help ensure you enjoy your harvest for months by making it easier to prepare your onions for storage. $25.95
The best way to store onions is in
. Drop in an onion, tie a knot above it, drop in another, and continue until the netting is full. Hang the netting up in a cool, dry place, and your onions will stay fresh.
When you want an onion, cut below the lowest knot and take the onion that drops off. The nets are a great storage solution, as they keep onions well-ventilated, and disease (if any) can't travel from onion to onion.
$1.50 each or $1.00 each when you buy ten or more.
If you grow onions in quantity, like so many of our customers do, our orange mesh storage bags are ideal
-- especially if you're planning to sell your onions. The bags provide ventilation, and they're light but also strong. They're available in
, with the 10 and 50 pound sizes recommended for larger producers.
You can purchase our
individually or in bulk. They're
$2.75 each, but if you buy ten or more, they're just $2.25 each
. And as with all products at Dixondale Farms, we don't add shipping charges.
Onion Caliper: With this onion caliper tool, you can accurately determine the size of your crop:
Super Colossal: 4-1/4 inches and up
Colossal: 3-3/4 inches and up
Jumbo: 3 inches and up
Medium: 2-1/4 inches to 3-1/4 inches
Prepack: 1-3/4 inches to 2-3/4 inches
Boiler: 1 to 1-7/8 inches
We're selling this handy tool for $4.99. It's great to use at farmers' markets or for bragging rights with other onion growers!
Around the Farm
Here's another planting video. Enjoy!
|Planting Onion Seed at Dixondale Farms
Cooking with Onions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel onions and cut in half crosswise.
- Place onions, cut sides down, in an 8 inch square baking dish, drizzle with water. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Combine honey and remaining ingredients.
- Turn onions over. Brush half of the honey mixture over the onions.
- Bake, uncovered, an additional 30 minutes or until tender, basting with remaining honey mixture after 15 minutes.
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.
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.
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
New customer? Request your 2019 catalog
We're available from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 830-876-2430, or e-mail us at
Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success.
We invite you to join the community on our
. 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
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
which include photos covering small space onion gardens, tasty onion recipes, planting tips, and more.
You can also join us on
, a photo community where we're sharing even more Dixondale photos.