It's April, and we can't believe how fast this onion season has flown! With only a few more week in our season, the majority of our customers' onions have shipped and are in the ground. This month we want to provide some onion bulbing tips and information to ensure your onions reach their full bulb size potential this growing season. Also, be sure to check out the limited number of
available exclusively to Dixondale Farms customers.
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie
|Reaching Full Onion Bulb Potential
Most Dixondale Farms customers strive to grow the largest onions possible.
viding your plants with enough space to bulb is crucial starting from the day you plant your onions
We recommend planting your onions no more than 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 4 inches
apart. These dimensions work well for all varieties of onions.
Don't worry that the bulbs are planted too far part; the foliage will shade the bulbs and prevent sunscald.
When Onions Start to Bulb
Onions will start bulbing once they're receiving enough sunlight. Bulbing is depende
nt on day
length and temperature, not the size or age of the plant, so choosing the proper varieties for your area is critical.
Short day onions require 10-12 hours of daylight, intermediate day
varieties require 12-14 hours of daylight, and long day varieties require 14-16 hours. This is why long day varieties
do poorly in the south and short day varieties aren't as effective in the north; they produce plenty of tops, but no bulbs. They do mature more quickly, but they produce smaller bulbs.
Check out our
for more information.
Once bulbing begins, the ground will start cracking around the bulb
as the expanding bulb starts shoving the dirt out of the way. About two-thirds of the onion bulb should be above the surface as it matures. See picture on right.
When to Stop Fertilizing
Be sure to stop fertilizing after your onions start to bulb to discourage further leaf growth and allow the bulbs to mature properly. Continuing to fertilize keeps the tops growing taller and prohibits the onion from allocatings its energy towards the bulbing process.
Don't Plant Too Deep!
If you've planted the onions too deep, you may not be able to tell when the bulbing process begins as the onion is too deep in the ground
. You'll end up with smaller bulbs shaped similar to torpedos because the
soil will re
strict the plants from bulbing properly.
We want our customers' crops to reach their full size potential. We are available year around to answer any growing questions you may have along the way. Contact us by phone at (830) 876-2430 or email at
James Coffelt sent in this photo with his Red Zeppelins. These are some of the nicest sized Red Zeppelin onions we've ever seen! Keep up the good work in your garden, James!
| Can You Identify this Onion Pest?
These are onion maggots. Above is the adult (left) and pupa (right). Pictured below is the larva. The onion maggot is one of the most destructive insect pests found in onions and leeks.
The grayish brown adult fly is less than a 1/3" in size and they generally stay hidden. When mature, the whitish maggots are about 1/4" long. The onion maggot overwinters in the pupal stage under debris in or near the soil surface. Once onions are planted and growing, the flies emerge to lay their eggs near the onion plants. Eggs hatch in less than a week. The maggots feed for two to three weeks. In about two weeks, the second-generation adults emerge from the pupal stage. Cool, wet weather favors development of three generations per year. A complete cycle takes 45 to 65 days.
Stunted or wilting onion plants are the first sign of onion maggot damage. At this time, you may find the maggots in putrid, decomposing onion plants. Light infestations may not kill onions, but may make them more susceptible to rots. Injured seedlings wilt and die, while larger bulbs may survive some injury, but are often poor keepers. Onions of all sizes may be attacked, especially in the fall, when cooler weather favors the maggot's activity. Damaged onions are not marketable and will rot in storage causing other onions to rot. It's important to note that once onion maggots infest an area, they tend to be a problem every year. This is another reason we encourage crop rotation.
We recommend AzaGuard Organic Insecticide for preventing and controlling onion maggot populations. Apply on 7 day intervals when onion maggots first appear and are in their early larval stages. Apply as fine spray to both sides of the leaf surface until runoff. Apply on a 3-4 day interval when insect populations are high, repeating until insect numbers are reduced.
Interested in growing shallots from transplants?
This season Dix
ondale Farms trialed three
varieties of shallot seed incl
uding Traditional, Semi-Long, and Banana. A limited number of shallot transplants are now being offered exclusively to Dixondale Farms custo
Each bunch of shallots is $13.95. Grow all three varieties with
ur Shallot Trio
which includes one bunch of each variety for
. Shallots are best suited f
or the intermediate and long day growing areas.
They are known for their flavor being a bit sweeter and more mild than onions with a hint of garlic flavor. We hope that our shallot growers will provide photos and feedback
of their shallots growing in their gardens. As always,
with any questions you may have about our shallot transplants!
Shipping in time for Mother's Day!
As our season wraps up, we are offering a 10 pound boxes of our very best
Texas jumbo sweet onions
. We hand select only the largest, sweetest onions available, and include our favorite
onion recipes along with them. Not only are the
ions great for your own table, they make an awesome culinary gift or Mother's Day gift. You can't beat the price of just $24.95 for one box; and if you order two or more, you can get them for just $23.95 each.
Cooking with Onions
French Onion Chicken Soup
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook onions, stirring occasionally to avoid burning until onions are tender and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Place cooked onions in a small dish and set aside. Return skillet to stove over medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Season chicken with salt, pepper and thyme. Add chicken and cook until all sides are brown and cooked thoroughly. Remove chicken from skillet. Increase temperature to high. Add in beef broth and deglaze skillet. Reduce temperature back to medium. Gradually whisk in flour until broth is thicken. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme. Stir in cooked chicken and onions until combined with beef gravy. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese and place in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until cheese in melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with a pinch of thyme if desired.To serve, place a few baguette slices in a shallow bowl. Top with chicken and gravy. Serve warm.
Around the Farm
Efficiency is essential at Dixondale Farms, especially in the busiest shipping month of the season! There's little time to spare, and we're always looking for new ways to improve our efficiency.
Here's a quick video of onion plant cases being unloaded from the farm. It's just one way that our packing shed crew wastes little time unloading plants. Trucks arrive each afternoon from the farm with the day's harvested onion plants. Cases are unloaded, palletized by variety, and moved to our coolers. These cases rarely stay in our coolers more 24 hours before they're shipped out to our customers.
|Onion plants arriving at Dixondale Farms packing shed.
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.
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.