In this issue...
  • Onion of the Month
  • From Our Friends
  • Around the Farm
  • From Jeanie's Kitchen
  • Q&A. Organic Onions
  • Fun Onion Facts
  • Send Us Your Product Reviews!
  • About Dixondale Farms

  • Affiliations
    Onion Seed Supplies January 2009

    Bruce & Wife Dear Fellow Gardener,

    Greetings, and welcome to 2009!

    It seems that every year, we have to address problems and concerns about the supply of onion seed. This year is no exception. Some of the problems we can see coming, and can do things about; other shortages don't leave us enough time to produce our own seed, or to find another source.

    This year's good news is that we have exclusive availability of 1015Y, Super Star, Red Candy Apple, Big Daddy, and Sterling. We've had to do away with a very popular variety, Red Burgermaster, since the seed company could no longer produce the seed with an acceptable germination rate.

    Seed companies generally require a germination rate of 85% before they can offer any onion seed for sale. Since we're the nation's largest onion plant grower, we can sometimes get our hands on seed that falls below this legal standard. Because we can just increase the seed rate when we plant this lower-germinating seed, we can compensate for the quality.

    This year's Walla Walla seed, for example, germinated only 40%, so we had to plant it almost twice as thick as normal. The result is that there won't be any seed available for people who direct-seed their onions -- but there will be plants available, if only from Dixondale Farms.

    So please order early in order to get what you want, since there's been an exceptional demand this year. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Happy planting,

    Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

    first edition onions Onion of the Month
    First Edition Storage Onions

    Storage onions tend to be on the longer side of long-days, which means they need 15-16 hours of day-length before they start the bulbing process. An exception to this is the First Edition, which needs only 14 hours of day-length to start bulbing.

    This is important in the southern regions of the long-day areas and the northern regions of the intermediate-day areas; it means that these regions now have an onion plant that will make an onion, and not just tops! (If you plant an onion in an area that doesn't meet the day-length requirement, the onion just keeps making tops and never makes a bulb.)

    First Edition is a medium-sized globe-shaped onion that matures in 110 days. It's the most widely adaptable long-day storage onion, since it matures earlier than any other storage type. This means you can plant as far south as the 36th parallel and produce onions that will store for up to 10 months.

    Learn More

    MUMFORD From Our Friends

    Here are M. Mumford and his son, R. Mumford, of Ivor, Virginia, with their Super Star onions draped around them!

    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.

    pivot Around the Farm
    Our Linear Pivot System

    This past year, Dixondale Farms installed two new linear pivot systems, representing the newest technology in irrigation efficiency. The linear pivots run up and down the fields in a straight line, which lets us irrigate the crops by drop hoses that don't get the foliage wet, while allowing us to provide just the right amount of water, nutrients, and protection for the plants. We have 870 acres under this type of system; about half the onion crop is being irrigated this way.

    From Jeanie's Kitchen
    Onion Cheese Soup

    • 2 cups of chopped sweet onions
    • 2 tablespoons of butter
    • 3 tablespoons of flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    • A dash of pepper
    • 4 cups of milk
    • 2 cups of sharp American cheese, shredded

    Melt the butter in a soup pot and sauté the onions until they're tender. Blend in the flour, salt and pepper. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Continue to stir and heat the soup until it reaches the boiling point. Remove the soup from the heat, and immediately stir in the shredded cheese.

    Q&A. Organic Onions

    Q. Why doesn't Dixondale Farms offer organic onion plants?

    A. We're often asked to provide organic onion plants, so we want to address why we don't. We would very much like to do so, but to be honest, it's a matter of economics. The costs of growing organic onions have so far been prohibitive.

    The main problem is in weed control. I tried to have an organic grower produce plants for me here in Carrizo Springs, and he spent over $3,000 an acre just on weeding the crop! That extra cost translates to high customer prices. I recently went online and found a company offering organic onion plants for $28 per bunch! I don't know how many I could sell at that price, but I suspect not many.

    We use a crop rotation that permits us to use as few chemicals as possible. We also put a fertilizer down when we plant, and spray all the onions with an herbicide to control weeds and grass.

    We use organic pesticides and fungicides to control insects and diseases when required; however, in the event of severe pest or disease pressure, we'll use non-organic authorized chemicals to save our investment. With over $8,000 an acre invested, we have to save our crops by any means possible when confronted with a catastrophe.

    We're always looking for new organic growing methods -- but the fact is, we've been growing onion plants for over 95 years without any issues regarding the safety of our product.

    Fun Onion Facts

    You can make onions milder by slicing them and soaking them in milk, or by pouring boiling water over the slices. If you choose the latter option, let the hot water stand for a while before pouring it off, then rinse the slices with cool water.

    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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