We hope you had a great holiday season! The start of a new year brings cold, freezing temperatures for many parts of the country. Protecting your onion plants from a hard freeze is important, and we want to remind you of the steps you can take to prevent onion damage. Read on to learn more.
Wishing you a great 2017 growing season,
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie
Protect Your Onions from a Freeze
Onions can withstand light to heavy frosts and moderate freezes, but hard freezes can result in onion damage. Covering the plants with a protective covering or tarp will greatly reduce freeze damage, especially if temperatures are dropping below 20˚F. We say that onion plants can survive temperatures as low as 20˚F, but what matters more is how long the temperatures are below freezing. Longer periods of freezing temperatures cause more damage to the plants.
The effect of freezing temperatures varies considering how many carbohydrates are available to the plant when the plant begins the recovery process following a freeze. If the plant uses up all of its carbohydrates that are stored in the bulb before it has the opportunity to regenerate more carbohydrates, the plant will die.
Take These Actions
A cultivation prior to a hard freeze results in a layer of moist soil at the surface that acts as insulation. This holds the day's heat in the soil around the bulb and root. We also tell customers to water their plants in well prior to a freeze. This will also serve as insulation around the bulb.
The best thing you can do is to make sure the plant has everything it needs to get growing or generating more carbohydrates by supplying the plant with water and chemicals necessary to restore its health.
How to Tell If Your Onions Have Been Damaged
Freeze injury may be readily detectable as translucent or water soaked outer scales of the bulbs. One or two days after the freeze event, onions should be cut transversely to see if translucent scales are present.
If you see some new leaves emerging, your plant is on its way to recovery. This may take a couple of weeks. After a week or so, pull the plant out; if it becomes mush when you squeeze the bulb, your plants have not survived the freeze.
The Onionman explain how to tell if your onions have died from a freeze in the video below.
We would like to congratulate Donna Qulan of Colchester, VT, whose Red Zeppelin onions won first place and Best in Division awards at the Champlain Valley Fair this year.
Donna wrote, "It was the first time I ever entered anything at the fair, so I was quite pleased, but not surprised because your onions are the best! Love my Red Zeppelins! Can't wait until next year."
We're looking forward to the 2017 season and wish all of our customers success in their gardens!
|Can You Identify this Onion Disease?
It's bacterial soft rot, one of the most common onion diseases. Signs include water-soaking and discoloration of leaves to a pale yellow or light brown. As the disease progresses, the leaves wilt and turn white, eventually becoming soft and breaking down into a foul-smelling viscous fluid.
The bacterium that causes the rot is called Erwinia. It's spread by rain, irrigation water, and insects such as onion maggots and thrips, and can survive year to year in soil and crop debris.
Erwinia enters the bulb through the neck tissue and damaged leaves of maturing plants. Optimum weather for infection is 68-86°F, and the infection can continue in storage if the temperature is above 37°F.
How to Prevent
We recommend treating your crop with
Mancozeb Fungicide Flowable with Zinc
on a weekly basis when conditions are conducive to disease. You may also spray ahead of time if you are expecting wet weather.
We also recommend not watering your onions overhead, as it promotes the spread of disease and bacterial soft rot. However, if you do water overhead, be prepared to apply Mancozeb Fungicide Flowable with Zinc both before and after an overhead watering.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your onions throughout the maturation and harvest process for signs of bacterial soft rot.
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
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
Mexican Red Onion Soup
- 6 large red onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried and crumbled
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cilantro (coriander)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 7 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
In a stockpot or five-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until softened and slightly colored. Sprinkle the onions with the sugar, oregano, cilantro, cumin, allspice, and cinnamon; cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the red wine vinegar and orange juice, and cook for another four minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one more minute. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers gently, then cover and cook 20 minutes longer. Then stir in the salt and pepper, and serve.
Our office team made a visit to the farm to see how the onion seeds are planted. They also got to see the previously planted fields and are now better able to share the crop's status with customers!
Left is a picture of the planter in a field. Each planting takes 4-8 hours depending on the size of the field.
Middle are Buck Lopez and Freddy Mart
inez on the back of the planter. It requires two individuals on the back of the planter ensuring that seeds go into the ground at a constant rate. If seeds are planted at different rates, it leads to very inconsistent plant sizes within the bunches. Right is one of the earliest fields planted for the 2017 season. The plants are looking great!
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? Order your 2017 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.
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