In this issue...
  • Onion of the Month: Sweet Texas Yellow
  • From Our Friends
  • From Jeanie's Kitchen
  • Q&A: Basal Plate Rot
  • Fun Onion Facts
  • Send Us Your Product Reviews!
  • About Dixondale Farms

  • Affiliations
    Selecting Onions by Day Length January 2008

    Dear Fellow Gardener,

    Greetings for the New Year! We hope your holidays were as pleasant and peaceful as ours were.

    In this issue, we'll discuss how to choose onions by day length, and determine which are appropriate for your area of the country.

    At the beginning of the growing process, onions form green leaves or "tops," the number and size of which ultimately determine the size of the onion bulb at maturity. Each onion leaf corresponds to a single ring; the bigger the leaf, the bigger the ring. After the tops are formed, the bulbing stage begins.

    Bulbing is dependent upon day length and temperature, not the size or age of plants. Therefore, successful onion production is dependent upon proper variety selection for day length in your growing area. As a general rule, long day onions do better in northern states (north of the 36th parallel) during the summers, while short day onions do better in states south of that line. Intermediate day onions will do well in many different areas, depending on the season.

    Long Day. Long day onions quit forming tops and begin forming bulbs when the day length reaches 14-16 hours. They're available in both sweet and storage varieties (long day storage onions will store up to eight months). They do best in the region stretching north from the latitudes of central California and New Mexico all the way to central Alaska and southern Canada. Long day sweet onions generally mature within 90-100 days, a few weeks before the storage varieties. Both types are available from now until the beginning of May.

    Intermediate Day. Intermediate day onions fall in the 12-14 hours of daylight category, which makes them the most widely adaptable of all our onion varieties. When planted at the proper time, they'll mature in about 100 days. Unless you live in South Texas or South Florida, you should have enough daylight hours to make nice-sized bulbs. All the intermediate day varieties we stock are exceptionally sweet, and are available now until the beginning of May.

    Short Day. Short day onions start making bulbs early in the year, when there are only 10-12 hours of daylight. They're planted primarily in the south during winter or early spring, and take about 110 days to mature. If planted in northern states in late spring, they'll mature in just 75 days, but will produce smaller bulbs. They're available now through early April.

    If you want to view a map to determine which day length is applicable for your area, visit our Web site.

    Enjoy the winter season, folks!

    Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

    OnionOMonth Onion of the Month: Sweet Texas Yellow
    October Delight

    The sweet yellow onion is the Texas State Vegetable, and the best known variety is probably the 1015Y -- so named because the seed is meant to be planted on October 15. This highly-adaptable, globe-shaped onion matures in about 110 days, and grows well from Ohio to Mexico. For the past two years, crop failures have all but wiped out the seed supply, but our customers don't need to worry: three years ago, we grabbed all the seed we could in anticipation of a shortage. Recently, we shipped some breeding stock to a facility in South Africa to produce 1015Y seed just for us. We think it's worth the effort. In fact, we love the 1015Y so much we think October 15th should be proclaimed a Texas holiday!

    Learn more

    From Friends From Our Friends

    This month's photo comes from Kelvin Perrien of Turlock, California, who tells us: "Here's a photo I really enjoy. Granex and grandkids -- how sweet it is! I waited until the grandkids, Alexis and Morgan, were over for supper, and they helped me harvest my garden onions. Great onions, great eating, great times with the grandkids."

    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 upcoming online Photo Album. Click here for details on how to submit your photos.

    From Jeanie's Kitchen
    How to Make an Onion Braid

    Here's what you'll need:

    • At least a dozen onions with the tops still attached
    • A 4-6 foot length of baling twine or soft jute parcel-post string
    • Scissors

    Securely tie the stems of three of your onions bulbs together, using one end of the twine. Then start plaiting the stems together as you'd braid hair, working the twine together with one of the stems. Once you've made several crosses, start adding additional onion bulbs, taking care to space them evenly. (You'll be combining several stems into each section; no one stem will extend for the entire length of the braid.) Leave enough room at the end of the twine to make a loop. Once you're done, find an airy, dry, shaded location (a carport or porch works well), and hang your braid there to cure for two weeks.

    Q&A: Basal Plate Rot

    Q. Do you have any ideas why the bottoms of my Candy and red onions (the root end) almost explode and herniate? I had several onions do it before harvesting, and more exploded while they were hanging.

    A. This problem is called basal plate rot, and results from overwatering the onion during the bulbing process. It's caused by a fungus that gets in the soil and attacks the onion through the base plate. I would suggest cutting back on the watering just a little bit during the bulbing process. A good fungicide such as the Mancozeb Flowable we sell would also prevent the disease.

    Fun Onion Facts

    Eating parsley is a simple and effective way to get rid of onion breath.

    Send Us Your Product Reviews!

    In addition to sending us 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

    phone: 877-367-1015
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