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In this issue...
  • Onion of the Month
  • From Our Friends
  • Around the Farm
  • Cooking With Onions
  • Q&A: Weed Control
  • Fun Onion Facts
  • Send Us Your Product Reviews!
  • About Dixondale Farms

  • Affiliations
    MGA
    What Your Onion Leaves Tell You March 2009

    Bruce & Wife Dear Fellow Gardener,

    Have you counted your onion leaves today?

    The size of an onion bulb is dependent upon the number and size of green leaves at the time of bulb maturity. For each leaf, there will be a ring of onion; the larger the leaf, the larger the ring will be. The perfect onion has 13 rings, which means that you should strive for 13 leaves if you want the biggest onions you've ever grown. The 9th leaf is usually the largest leaf on the plant, and that's when the nitrogen fertility should peak.

    When the 13th leaf appears, the onion is getting ready to start curing. This occurs at about the same time that the rest of the larger leaves have transferred most of their carbohydrates to the rings, so the onion's neck will start getting soft. It won't need as much moisture, which means you should stop irrigating the crop from this point on.

    So count your leaves to determine what stage your onions are in. If you have only 9 leaves, then you'll probably get a medium-sized onion. And remember, planting closer or later reduces bulb size.

    Happy counting!

    signature
    Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

    red-zeps Onion of the Month
    Red Zeppelin

    Last year, we introduced the Red Zeppelin as our new red storage onion. We've received excellent feedback, and it performed exceptionally well in most cases. Long day storage onions generally take 15-16 hours of day-length to trigger the bulbing process. Red Zeppelin only takes 14 hours, which makes it more adaptable to the southern portions of the long day areas. This makes it work well everywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Learn More

    from customers - march From Our Friends

    Happy customer Jon sends us this missive:

    "This is me with the 600+ Dixondale onions grown and harvested at our urban farm. We live four miles from downtown Houston and maintain a 2,500 square foot vegetable garden. We always look forward to planting our Dixondale onions, which signals the end of the year and the beginning of a new growing season!

    "Many thanks!"

    We love hearing from our customers. Send us your favorite "onion photo" and we'll try to include it in a future newsletter, our next catalog or our online Photo Album. Click here for details on how to submit your photos.


    around the farm Around the Farm
    Making it Happen

    Some people might wonder how we're able to keep all the varieties straight and what the average day might be like at Dixondale Farms. Well, it all starts with the planting of the onions, beginning in August and lasting until February. We have 24 fields, each of which is about 12 acres in size. We plant 30 pounds of seed to the acre, so each field requires around 360-400 pounds of seed.

    We stagger the plantings, and plant onion varieties according to the anticipated demand for each variety when it's ready for harvest. The great thing about living in Carrizo Springs, Texas is that it doesn't rain very often, so we're able to control the growth of the fields with irrigation.

    Each variety is packed in either a 30-bunch cardboard box or a plastic container that's painted a certain color and labeled to distinguish it from other varieties. Harvest begins at first light, and over five million plants are usually harvested each day -- in just a matter of hours. The plants are then hauled in to town, and the crew at the packing shed packs thousands of orders each day with freshly-dug onion plants.


    Cooking With Onions
    Baked Onions

    • 2 large onions (yellow or white)
    • 2 tablespoons of tomato juice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
    • 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
    • 1/8 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Peel the onions, then cut them in half and place them face-up in a baking dish. Set them aside, and combine the other ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook them on low heat until the butter melts completely, then mix the ingredients thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the onion halves and bake the dish at 350 degrees for an hour. Serves four.

    Onions can enhance so many dishes, from simple salads to complex entrees; and they can also be consumed raw, fried, sautéed or baked. We periodically receive sumptuous recipe suggestions from our employees and from you, our customers. We want to share one with you each month, so that you can take full advantage of the fruits of your labor! If you have one you would like us to print, please email it to us at customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.


    Q&A: Weed Control

    Q. How can I control weeds without damaging my onion plants?

    A. Weed control is critical with onions, so that your plants won't have to compete with the weeds for nutrients. Your first job is to weed your onion beds thoroughly. Next, apply an herbicide. We've found that pre-emergent applications of either Treflan or corn gluten meal, which interferes with the weed germination process, stops the weeds cold for up to six weeks. Rake the herbicide into the top inch of soil before planting your onions, and then reapply it every six weeks to keep the weeds from returning.

    A light organic mulch can also help control weeds, while simultaneously preserving moisture. Be sure to pull the mulch back from the plants when they begin to bulb, however, so that they'll cure properly.


    Fun Onion Facts

    Once upon a time, onions were considered just another garden-variety vegetable in Europe. But in the early 1700s, King Stanislaus I of Poland made public his love of French Onion Soup -- and the humble onion's popularity soared!


    Send Us Your Product Reviews!

    In addition to sending us recipes and photos of your onions, we encourage you to give us feedback on our products via the Product Review options on the Web site. You'll find a "write your own review" link on every product page. Don't be shy -- we need your opinions!


    About Dixondale Farms

    As the largest and oldest onion plant farm in the US, Dixondale Farms offers a wide selection of top-quality, disease-free, ready-to-plant onion plants. To see our complete product line, request a catalog, or for growing tips and cultural information, visit our Web site by clicking here.

    Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success. If you have either questions or suggestions, we'd love to hear from you. You can reach us from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central Time at 877-367-1015, or e-mail us any time at customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

    phone: 877-367-1015