Nitrogen is one of, if not the, most important nutrients in your onion crop. This month we'll discuss how to determine if your soil needs additional Nitrogen, how much Nitrogen is needed, and when to apply Nitrogen.
If you have already received your plants, we hope your growing season has started off
successfully. For those awaiting your onion plants, we wish you great success ahead as your onion plants will be on their way to you in the next month or so!
Happy Onion Growing,
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie Frasier
|The Importance of Nitrogen in Your Onion Crop
Your soil is the storage vehicle for the nutrients for your onion crop. Replenishing the soil with these essential nutrients is critical to having success. With all the rain that has fallen across most of the country your soil has lost lots of these nutrients due to leeching. Specifically, Nitrogen is the most common nutrient that is easily leeched from the soil by excessive rainfall.
The easiest way to determine if the onion plant has enough Nitrogen available is to look at the leaves. Plants that are lacking Nitrogen have a pale green to yellow appearance. If the tops are stunted and not growing also indicates a lack of this essential nutrient. Applying adequate Nitrogen to the plant not only greens the foliage but also increases the length of the leaves. It also enhances efficient uptake and utilization of other nutrients especially phosphorous and potassium, as well as increasing the number of leaves. Remember that each leaf translates in to another ring of onion so the more leaves you have, the larger the bulb will be.
Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0)
or a similar source of Nitrogen at a rate of 1 cup per 10 feet will be adequate to generate a response in your onion crop. If you use another source of Nitrogen such as Urea (40-0-0), adjust the application based on the first number of the analysis. Each application will give your crop approximately 40 actual lbs of Nitrogen. After your plants recover, continue applying Nitrogen every three weeks at a rate of 1 cup per 20 feet to maintain adequate Nitrogen levels.
The amount of Nitrogen already in your soil depends on what was planted in the soil previously. Grain or corn will provide approximately 50 lbs of Nitrogen if it was planted previously in the same location that you are now planting onions. Most row crops such as beans, peas, and potatoes will not provide any Nitrogen the next year. Getting a soil sample will provide you with your starting point.
Total Nitrogen needed is in the range of 150-160 pounds of Nitrogen so in this case it is presumed that your soil already has around 28-58 units of Nitrogen to begin with.
Calculation of N application rate. (lb N per acre)
N requirement: 160
Soil test N: -44
Previous crop: +25
Irrigation water: -10
N rate to apply: 131 lbs N per acre
In this case on a per acre basis, approximately 625 pounds of Ammonium Sulfate is required as a general rule of thumb. This will produce units of actual Nitrogen (625 X 21% Nitrogen content of Ammonium Sulfate).
Once the onions begin to swell at the bulb, you will need to stop any additional applications of Nitrogen. Applying Nitrogen late in the growing season will produce what is called "thick necks". This will reduce the shelf life of the onions in storage. Onions with thin necks store better than onions with thick diameters.
Have more questions about nutrient needs in your onions? Contact Customer Service at (830) 876-2430 or email email@example.com. We look forward to another season of providing the highest quality onion plants for you!
Paul Cayer of Barnard, CT shared his blue ribbon Highlander and Redwing onions from the Tunbridge World Fair of 2018.
We appreciate Paul sharing his photos with us and hope you will do the same! We wish Paul great growing success in the 2019 season, as well
Share Your Photos with Us!
Many of our customers have experienced a colder than normal winter this year. If you must store your plants until you are able to plant, simply store them in a cool, dry location until your weather clears. They will store for 2-3 weeks if needed. As long as the bulbs are still firm, they are in good shape to plant. Feel free to contact Customer Service if you have specific questions about your stored plants at firstname.lastname@example.org or (830) 876-2430.
These plants were stored for over a month and the bulbs are still nice and firm.
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.
Keep your onion plants disease free. We offer
Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc
to help control diseases such as downy and powdery mildew, blight, neck rot, and botrytis. This product is a broad spectrum, protectant fungicide that prevents fungal and bacterial spores from forming on your leaves. Spray this product as a protectant on a weekly basis 3 weeks after planting up until 2 weeks before harvest. Use as
needed in the event of wet weather.
One pint starts at $19.95.
Protect your organic onion crops with
OxiDate Organic Fungicide
. OxiDate offers powerful disease control by killing fungal and bacterial spores on contact while remaining eco-friendly. May be used as a preventative and curative treatment on any type of fruit or vegetable. OMRI listed for organic production.
32 fl. oz. starting at $18.95.
Around the Farm
Back in December, Gigi and Pop (Jeanie and Bruce "The Onionman" Frasier) went to their granddaughters' school to plant onions. Clementine sent us this update on how they're growing so far! Looking good, Clementine!
Cooking with Onions
Secret Chocolate Cake
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1 cup vegetable oil, divided
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk, soured with 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Easy Fudge Icing (recipe to follow)
Melt chocolate in saucepan, stirring over low heat, or in microwave oven. Caramelize onion by sautéing over medium low heat for 8-10 minutes in 2 tablespoons oil in skillet until soft. In large bowl, beat remaining oil with sugar, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and fluffy, about 2 or 3 minutes. Beat in warm melted chocolate and caramelized onions. Mix flour with baking soda and salt; stir into batter alternately with milk. Divide batter evenly into 2 well-greased and floured 8-inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until a pick inserted into center comes out dry. Cool 15 minutes then invert onto wire racks to thoroughly cool. Spread on icing.
Makes 12 servings.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting (from Epicurious)
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate (Callebaut)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
Directions: Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides.
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
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