Selecting Onions by Day Length
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
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
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
Onion of the Month: Sweet Texas Yellow
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
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!
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
and they helped me harvest my garden onions.
onions, great eating, great times with the
We love hearing from our customers. Send us
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.
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
- A 4-6 foot length of baling twine or soft
Securely tie the stems of three of your
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
Once you've made several crosses, start adding
additional onion bulbs, taking care to space
evenly. (You'll be combining several stems
section; no one stem will extend for the
entire length of
the braid.) Leave enough room at the end of
to make a loop. Once you're done, find an
shaded location (a carport or porch works
hang your braid there to cure for two weeks.
Q&A: Basal Plate Rot
Q. Do you have any ideas why the
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
results from overwatering the onion during
process. It's caused by a fungus that gets in
and attacks the onion through the base plate.
suggest cutting back on the watering just a
during the bulbing process. A good fungicide
the Mancozeb Flowable we sell would
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
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
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
Time at 877-367-1015, or e-mail us any time