Watch That Weather!
Dear Fellow Gardener,
Welcome to Issue 3 of The Onion Patch!
Pictured here is Ms. Lupe Contreras, one of my most
valued and loyal employees. Given that her hands are
moving so fast that they're a blur, it's obvious that
Lupe was too busy to stop to pose for this picture.
This year's crop is absolutely
gorgeous, and we're thankful that our recent cold
spell didn't drop temperatures low enough to damage
Onions are hardy to 20 degrees, and it usually takes
single-digit temperatures to kill them. If you receive
your plants and the weather prohibits you
from planting them right away, spread them out in a
cool, dry place. A young
onion can live off its bulb for up to two weeks.
you've already planted your onions and expect a cold
spell, the best thing to do is protect them by
covering them with straw or blankets. A few degrees
can make a big difference.
On another note, lots of folks have asked about the
onion. For the past 6 years, I've purchased the
entire production of Sweet Sandwich seed. Each
year the germination has dropped significantly, so
the seed company has discontinued
Copra makes an excellent replacement in the
Northeast and Northwest, First Edition in the
Midwest. Both are outstanding keepers, although
neither sweetens during storage quite like Sweet
The next issue will come out in March, and we
look forward to seeing you then. Meanwhile, if you
questions, please give us
a call at 877-367-1015 or send us your
here. We'll be happy to help!
Bruce "Onionman" Frasier
Onion of the Month: Copra
Sweet and Strong
The Copra is a medium-sized, sweet hybrid onion
that's great for cooking. It's characterized by a thin
neck, a round body, and hard, thick, dark-yellow
skin; when stored properly, it stays firm, juicy, and
crisp for months. The Copra is also known for its
resistance to the fungal disease fusarium. The flavor
is strong, which makes it a no-no for most salads,
but it works very well with meat dishes, especially
after simmering in butter.
From Our Friends
This regular customer from Missouri gives a lot to his
friends and neighbors, and to a place called
Friendship Manor. The people there are on fixed
incomes but cook for themselves. He provides them
with plenty of extra produce, including these onions!
We love hearing from customers. Send us your
favorite "onion photo" and we'll try to include it in a
future newsletter. To email photos, send them to
From Jeanie's Kitchen
- 3 lbs small raw shrimp, cleaned
- 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 6 limes, juiced
- 4 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 Serrano chile pepper, seeded and finely
- 1 onion, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
Put shrimp in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Pour
lemon and lime juice over them, and refrigerate for
three hours. The juice will "cook" the shrimp. Toss
with remaining ingredients and refrigerate for one
more hour or longer.
Q. How should I fertilize my onions?
A. Before planting, apply a balanced fertilizer (10-20-
10) in bands three inches below the surface, and
within 10 inches of where you'll plant the onions.
Phosphate, potash, copper, manganese, and zinc are
usually applied only at planting. For convenience, you
buy your starter fertilizer from us
when you order your onions.
Once the onions are established (three weeks after
planting), they'll require more nitrogen for leaf
formation. An onion typically generates a new leaf
every 2-3 weeks. When you receive your transplants
from us, they generally have 4-5 leaves. The perfect
onion has 13 rings, so the key is to generate as
many large leaves as you can before the onion starts
Feeding the onion every 2-3 weeks with a good
source of nitrogen, such as ammonium sulfate (21-0-
0), is essential. Water the onions after every
application, because the only way for the plant to
take up the nitrogen is through the root system.
Once the onion starts bulbing, additional nitrogen
shouldn't be applied, since it will produce bulbs with
thick necks. These won't shrink on drying, and
therefore won't store well.
There are fewer than 1,000 commercial onion farmers
in America. We're one of the few and the proud!
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
To see our complete product line, request a catalog,
or for growing tips and cultural information, visit our
web site by clicking
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 8AM to 5PM
Central Time at 877-367-1015, or email us
any time at