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

  • Affiliations
    Garden Watchdog Honors Us! August 2009

    Dear Fellow Gardener,

    We're a Garden 
Watchdog Top 5 

    Dixondale Farms is at the top of the charts!

    That would be The Garden Watchdog charts, for which we owe our customers a big round of thanks. If you're not already aware of The Garden Watchdog, part of the popular Dave's Garden Web site, you may want to check it out. A great resource for gardening aficionados, it's a free directory of more than 6,890 mail-order gardening companies.

    At Garden Watchdog, gardeners share their opinions on which companies really deliver on quality, price and service. Since 1994, 3,624 gardening companies have been reviewed, and 50,693 comments have been posted -- some positive, some neutral and some negative -- by 26,411 customers.

    Recently, we received word that we'd been selected as a Top 5 company for our category, "Bulbs: Onions and Garlic," for the year 2009. We're delighted by the honor, especially since it's based on reviews by the people who count -- you, our customers.

    We appreciate all the positive feedback! Our Top 5 rating puts us in rarefied company, and knowing that you enjoy our products and our customer service makes it all worthwhile.

    To see our Garden Watchdog entry, just click here.

    Happy harvesting,

    Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

    candy apple Product of the Month
    A Request for Feedback

    This year, we introduced two new onion varieties, Red Candy Apple and Sterling, and we've been listening carefully to what customers have said about their experiences with these new onions. Here's some of the initial feedback, including planting tips.

    Sterling, a long day white onion that will store well, performed as expected in most cases. Red Candy Apple had mixed results, but keep this in mind: it should be viewed as a separate and distinct onion and not compared to Candy, a yellow onion which is much easier to grow.

    Red Candy grows to a maximum size of three inches. The onion will be sweeter the larger it is, and a striking red unless you take it too early -- in which case the bulb will be completely white on the inside, with no red rings at all.

    Red Candy grows more slowly than other intermediate-day types, and thus may not have as many leaves when the bulbing process begins. You'll need to push it along with more nitrogen applications to get it to grow faster, stopping about 45 days from harvest. One application three weeks after planting followed by two more applications at two week intervals, for a total of three applications, should be sufficient.

    We encourage you to go to our Web site and review Red Candy and Sterling, if you've grown either this year. If not, we'll welcome your product reviews on any of our onions! You'll find a review link to click at the end of the product description for each specific variety.

    Learn More

    CUSTOMER From Our Friends

    This month, we hear from John and Martha Story of Westport, New York:

    "Your 2009 onion shipment arrived just as we were getting down to the last of our keepers from last summer. We tilled at our farm in the Champlain Valley this weekend, and planted some Lancelot leeks and six bunches of onions: Walla Wallas, Yellow Spanish, Ringmasters, Ailsa Craigs, Red Torpedoes, and Cippolini -- all of which did great last summer. We've been growing them for years, and are now getting some gardening help from our 10 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 online Photo Album. Click here for details on how to submit your photos.

    Bruce at the Kremlin Around the Farm
    Russian Exchange Program

    Here I am at the Kremlin in Moscow!

    I just returned from a twelve-day visit to Russia, and I must say that it was very interesting and worthwhile to meet Russian farmers face-to-face, to tour Russian facilities, and to visit their farms.

    Their land is some of the greatest farmland on Earth, and their climate is more in line with Iowa in the southern portion and Canada in the northern portion. Their onion production mostly comes from their "dashas," which are their weekend houses in the countryside. What little acreage is dedicated to vegetables primarily produces potatoes, cabbage, and carrots.

    Most of the onions are planted one year, kept in the ground over the winter, and then produce a bulb the following year -- a two-year process! Seed stems are a big problem. They would love to have our transplants over there, but since onions aren't that big in their diet, they're satisfied with importing onions from other European countries or former Soviet republics.

    Cooking With Onions
    Onion Barbecue Sauce

    • 1/2 cup of minced Vidalia onions
    • 1/8 cup of oil or margarine
    • 1/2 cup of tomato ketchup
    • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
    • 1 tablespoon or Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce

    Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and serve on any of your barbecued meat dishes, either during cooking or afterward. It goes well with hamburgers, frankfurters, beef, chicken, pork, and even fish, and makes a great dipping sauce for just about anything.

    This recipe makes about 3/4 of a cup, but it's easily scalable.

    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

    Q&A: Overwintering Onions

    Q.Can I grow onions in the fall and overwinter them?

    A.The quick answer is no -- or at least, not in the northern hemisphere, though there are some areas of the country that plant seed in the fall and overwinter them for spring production. The plants have enough time before going into dormancy to get established, and they start growing again in the spring when the ground warms up. These areas are primarily in the Southwest, where temperatures don't get so cold as to kill the bulbs.

    Onion tops are grown in increasing day length, and then bulbs are formed when the day length trigger is met for a particular variety. It's best to just wait until the spring and plant the transplants.

    Fun Onion Facts

    We thought we'd treat you to more silly onion laws this issue.

    In Blue Hill, Nebraska, no female wearing "a hat which would scare a timid person" may be seen eating onions in public.

    In Pocataligo, Georgia, you're not allowed to eat onions while lounging on bakery shelves, curiously enough.

    In Budd's Creek, Maryland, you're not supposed to eat onions unless you're over 21 and have written permission from your dentist.

    And of course, if you reside in Spades, Indiana, you'd better purchase your onions before 6 PM. Otherwise, you'll need a prescription from your doctor.

    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 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Central Time at 877-367-1015, or e-mail us any time at

    phone: 877-367-1015
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