Each September, many customers contact us asking if they can plant any onion varieties for a fall or winter harvest. Unfortunately, sunlight and temperature challenges make that inadvisable. You can, however, grow green onions and overwintering may be an option. Read on to learn more about fall onion crops.
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie
|What to Know About Fall Onions
Planting For Fall Harvest?
If you plant onions now, they'll start bulbing (pushing away the surrounding soil) very soon, even though the onions have not fully developed. This is because bulbing is triggered not by plant size, but by daylength.
Spring planting allows time for the onions to grow and mature before days are long enough to start the bulbing process. Late summer planting simply doesn't provide the proper conditions for onion plants to grow before bulbing begins.
An alternative that is by no means guaranteed is to plant in the fall, when days are short enough that bulbing will not occur, with the intention of harvesting the onions the following spring. This process, called overwintering, poses two risks.
One possibility is that the onion plant will not develop much before cold weather sets in. Tender young plants are not likely to survive frigid winter temperatures.
If the plants do make it through the winter, in spring they will be prone to start flowering, a process known as bolting. Bolting results in decreased bulb size, shorter storage time, and the possibility of decay. When an onion bolts, a hardened stem shoots from the plant producing a flower pod at the top. This is called a "seed stem" as there are onion seeds in the flower.
While overwintering onions requires Mother Nature's full cooperation, you'll end up with extra large onions if you're successful.
If green onions are your objective, you can plant long day varieties that require at least 14 hours of daylength. Here in South Texas, we can only grow extremely long day varieties in the early fall because other varieties start bulbing just two weeks after we plant.
Your Best Bet
If you want to enjoy home-grown onions for as much of the year as possible, your very best bet is to grow plenty of storage varieties in the spring. Planting when conditions are ideal is far safer, and we offer plenty of varieties that store well for many months of enjoyment.
Pictured here is Keenan helping her grandpa harvest his Ailsa Craig onions and Lancelot Leeks. Those are some great looking Ailsa Craig onions! Rocky, thanks for sharing pictures of your harvest from Pine City, NY!
Send Us Your Photos
We enjoy receiving photos from our customers, including those of award-winning Dixondale onions. We'd love to publish yours in an upcoming newsletter. Just e-mail your onion photos to
, along with a description and your city and state. You
may see one or more of your photos in a future newsletter, or even in our print catalog next year!
Harvest and Storage Aids
Once you've harvested your onions,
they'll need to be stored until you're ready to eat them. Here are a few products
that will help you keep them fresh.
You can clip your onions like a professional onion harvester with these
Ergonomically designed for quick and easy removal of roots and onion leaves, our shears also work on all other alliums, including garlic and our own Lancelot Leeks. They'll help ensure you enjoy your harvest for months by making it easier to prepare your onions for storage. $25.95
The best way to store onions is in
. Drop in an onion, tie a knot above it, drop in another, and continue until the netting is full. Hang the netting up in a cool, dry place, and your onions will stay fresh.
When you want an onion, cut below the lowest knot and take the onion that drops off. The nets are a great storage solution, as they keep onions well-ventilated, and disease (if any) can't travel from onion to onion.
$1.50 each or $1.00 each when you buy ten or more.
If you grow onions in quantity, like so many of our customers do, our orange mesh storage bags are ideal
-- especially if you're planning to sell your onions. The bags provide ventilation, and they're light but also strong. They're available in
, with the 10 and 50 pound sizes recommended for larger producers.
You can purchase our
individually or in bulk. They're
$2.50 each, but if you buy ten or more, they're just $2.00 each
. And as with all products at Dixondale Farms, we don't add shipping charges.
Onion Caliper: With this onion caliper tool, you can accurately determine the size of your crop:
Super Colossal: 4-1/4 inches and up
Colossal: 3-3/4 inches and up
Jumbo: 3 inches and up
Medium: 2-1/4 inches to 3-1/4 inches
Prepack: 1-3/4 inches to 2-3/4 inches
Boiler: 1 to 1-7/8 inches
We're selling this handy tool for $4.99. It's great to use at farmers' markets or for bragging rights with other onion growers!
Around the Farm
Planting has begun at Dixondale Farms for the 2018 season! Several fields are in the ground with many more scheduled. Pictured below is the farm crew getting seed in the ground.
Look for the Dixondale Farms 2018 Catalog in your mailboxes next month!
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? Request your 2018 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.