May 2018
Header Image-New

 


Dixondale Farms has been busy transforming from onion plant season to cantaloupe season. With warmer temperatures in the south, our cantaloupes are now ready for harvest, as well as many of our southern customers' onions. We wanted to review some signs to look for that your onions are nearing time to harvest.


Happy harvesting and warmer weather,
 
  
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie   
Proper Time to Harvest
With our customers in the south nearing harvest, we wanted to provide a refresher on when it's time to harvest.
 
One way you will know your onions are nearing harvest is by keeping track of the number of leaves on your onion plants. While 13 is the ideal number of onion leaves, some onion varieties may mature with fewer leaves than that. When your plants reach at least seven leaves, start watching them carefully. There will be three key physical signs that your onions are mature and should be harvested.
 
1. Soft Neck
When the area right above the neck (the place where the leaves meet the bulb) starts feeling soft, the transfer of carbohydrates from the leaves to the rings has finished meaning the final cell division within the rings has occurred. At this stage, you should water less frequently to prevent sour skin and black mold occurring in wet soils. 

2. Tops Falling Over
When some of the tops fall over, this reflects 100% soft neck, even though not all the tops are down. If you are planning to consume the onions right away, you can pull and enjoy them. There is good skin development at this stage and adequate green tops to prevent sunscald during drying.
   
When all the tops are down, the onion is finished pulling sugars out of the top and moisture out of its roots, but skin development will continue to occur. If growing for storage, a light last watering should take place to allow onions to respire some moisture before harvest. For sweeter onions, give them a moderate final watering.
  
3. Last Leaf
Examine all the leaves, particularly the most recent one to appear (last leaf). The leaf sheaths mature and dry from the oldest to the youngest leaf. If you pull the onions from the soil before the last leaf is dry, rot could occur during storage. The neck cavity or top of the onion should not be sunken or soft before lifting the onions out of the soil.
 
It's best to remove your onions in the morning before the worst of the heat and direct sunlight occur.
 
After Lifting Your Onions
Now that your plants are out of the soil, you'll want them to last as long as possible. This requires thorough drying and curing. For a quick rundown of the process, check out this past newsletter
 
Happy harvesting!
Check This Out!
Curious how some store their onions? Check out how our customers and friends at Hoss Tools dry and store their onions.
From Our Friends

Look at those Ailsa Craig onions! 

Dean Kupferschmid writes, "This is a picture of our Ailsa Craig onions being held by my two grandchildren, Alessandra and Christian. The onions were grown in Ellington, Connecticut during the 2017 season; the best year I have ever had with your onions. Thank you so much!"

Thanks for sharing your growing success with us, Dean!

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.
Can You Identify this Onion Disease?
Photo Courtesy of University of California Integrated Pest Management 
           
                                  
It's Bacterial Soft Rot and one of the key reasons for waiting until the tops fall completely over before harvesting them.

Identification
Bacterial soft rots are characterized by softening and water soaking of one or more of the inner fleshy scales of the bulb. Affected tissue is yellow initially, turning brown as the disease progresses lengthwise in the bulb. The neck of infected bulbs may be soft when pressed. These organisms generally appear just before or at the time of harvest or in storage. Bacterial soft rots are primarily a problem on onions, but not garlic. 

Management
Free water is essential for entry and spread of the bacteria. Wounds and senescent leaves are the means by which bacteria gain entrance into the bulb. The pathogens are soilborne and may be spread in irrigation water.

Avoid overhead irrigation once onions start to bulb. Harvest only after onion tops are well matured and have fallen over.
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
Easy French Onion Biscuits
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) container French onion dip
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Directions
Mix the Bisquick, milk, onion dip, and parsley.
Drop spoonfuls of the mix on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with the grated cheese and a light sprinkle of paprika.
Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown for about 12-18 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe from Genius Kitchen.   If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to share, please email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Around the Farm

There's a new little onion in the onion patch! Bruce and Jeanie welcomed a new granddaughter, Magnolia Frasier King, on May 10, 2018.

Pop (The Onionman) with his granddaughters, Clementine and Magnolia.

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.