February 2018
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Thanks to La Ni ñ a, much of the country is experiencing some strange weather patterns this late winter. Many customers in the east are too cold to plant, and some customers in the west are warmer than usual and ready to get in their gardens. No matter what weather you may be experiencing, we've got onions covered for you this season.

Below are some tips on adjusting your onion growing routine this 2018 season.

Happy Growing, 
 
  
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie   
Unusual Weather Patterns and Your Onions
With much of the US experiencing some of La Niña weather effects, below are some tips to help you in your onion patch this season. 
Mancozeb

Too much rain
Our friends in the southeast have received quite a bit of rain lately. We recommend protecting your onions with a fungicide such as Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc. This will keep them strong, healthy, and disease free during the damp, dreary weather conditions. If it's been cold on top of the rain, keep in mind that your onions may require a few more days to harvest because they have not been acquiring those heat units while it's cold, wet, and rainy. 

Freezing Temperatures
The northeast is freezing with heavy snow on the ground. This could delay planting for some by a week or two. If you receive your onions and are still too cold to plant, open the box, remove the rubber band, and keep them cool and dry until you can plant. The plants can live off of the bulb for up to 3-4 weeks. Plant once your soil temperature has increased a bit. If you would like to delay your shipment, contact our office at (830) 876-2430 or email customerservice@dixondalefarms.com so that we can help accommodate. 

    Keep your plants cool and dry until you can plant.
1. Cut rubber band                         2. Spread plants out.

Warmer Temperatures
We have seen some orders for the northwest move their ship dates forward because it is a bit warmer than usual. Keep in mind that these long day onion varieties still require 14-16 hours of daylength. Planting earlier will increase days to harvest in this situation as that plant will still need to acquire the same amount of heat units, but will need to wait on those longer days to do so. Planting earlier has it's pros and cons. You could get one more leaf which means one more ring and a bigger bulb. But, the onion will reach the 7th leaf stage earlier (up to 2 weeks or so) and could increase the risk for bolting. 

As farmers and gardeners, Mother Nature is always keeping us on our toes. If you have further questions about your specific weather situation, give us a call at (830) 876-2430 or email customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.
From Our Friends
Curtis Smith (left) and Calvin Schmidt (right).
Long time customer, Calvin Schmidt reached out to us with a story we felt was worth sharing with our customers!

Calvin writes, "This is the story of a friendship that was made with the help of a catalog. In November of 2015, I started getting phone calls from Alabama. Not knowing anyone from there, I figured it was a telemarketer or a scam call so I didn't answer it. The caller was persistent. Then one evening I broke down and answered it. I will never forget Curtis Smith's first question, "I want to know how you raised those onions!" He had seen my picture in the Dixondale Farms catalog. I promptly told him I just followed their instructions and guidelines. We talked about 45 minutes that night, and several times in early 2016. During one of our talks I told Curtis I needed to get down to Alabama and meet him. So in September of 2016, I made the trek to Cullman and we spent an afternoon where he cooked me a delicious meal of chicken dressing complete with Dixondale onions, showed me his garden, and we talked as I got to know him and his wife Pat. They showed me some real southern hospitality. I am grateful Curtis didn't give up trying to get in touch with me, and we both appreciate Dixondale's quality products."

We appreciate Calvin sharing this story with us and are happy that these two have developed such a strong bond through onion growing! We hope to continue to help cultivate friendships through our catalog and onion growing community.

If you'd like to share pictures of your onion crop or stories about our onions, please email them to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.
Did your onions freeze?
                                
Damage: Onions can withstand light to heavy frosts and moderate freezes, but hard freezes can result in onion damage. Freeze injury may be readily detectable as translucent or water soaked outer scales of the bulbs. One or two days after the freeze event, cut the onions transversely to see if translucent scales are present. 

We say that onion plants can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees, but what is more crucial is how long the temperatures remain below freezing. The effects of freezing temperatures vary considerably depending how many carbohydrates are available to the plant when it starts to recover. If the plant has to use up all its carbohydrates that are stored in the bulb before it can regenerate more carbohydrates, the plant will die. That is why it usually takes about a week before anyone can assess the true damage from a severe freeze.  After a week, pull a plant out of the ground. If it becomes mush when you squeeze the bulb, you are in trouble.

Preparing: The best thing you can do is to make sure the plant has everything it needs to get growing or generating more carbohydrates. This includes supplying the plant with water and chemicals to restore its health. A cultivation prior to the event 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.

Good signs of recovery: If you see some new leaves emerging, your plant is well on its way to recovery. This may take a couple of weeks. 
Featured Products
Shallots
*New for 2018* - Grow Shallots from Transplants!
We are offering traditional shallot transplants starting March 5th! If you're interesting in adding some unique flavor to your gardens, order shallots today. We recommend shallots be planted in the northern most parts of the country, as shallots are true long day alliums. Shallots are known for their mild flavor and long storage potential (8-10 months).


Around the Farm

Frosty onions in the morning
We experienced some light frost earlier this month in the fields. Don't worry, the sun came out shortly after these were taken. The sunrises on the farm provide gorgeous photo opportunities. We appreciate the farm manager sharing these with us!

 
Cooking with Onions
 
Vidalia Onion Quiche
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 lbs. Vidalia Onions (sweet, Yellow Granex or yellow onions)
  • 9 in. unbaked pie shells
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese or 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp chives, chopped
Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large frying pan and add sliced onions. Sauté until transparent. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese in the bottom of the pie plate. Add the cooled onions. Mix together eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Pour over the onions and top with remaining cheese and chives. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until mixture is set. Allow to cool before serving. 

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

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? View our 2018 catalog or order a 2018 catalog 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.