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

  • Affiliations
    MGA
    Ideal Onion Plant Size February 2010

    Bruce & Wife Dear Fellow Gardener,

    Every year, several customers ask that we ship them large plants. Well, here are my thoughts on onion plant size.

    The optimum thickness of the onion plant at the time of transplanting is about that of a pencil, which usually means that it has four leaves. If an onion plant has more than 5 leaves, it's more prone to go to seed than the smaller plant. When we ship the plants, they have a certain amount of carbohydrates stored in the bulb. Naturally, the larger the bulb on the plant, the more carbohydrates the plant possesses.

    Your job is to transplant the bulb, have it establish a root system, and start generating more carbohydrates before it uses up all it has stored in the bulb -- a simple explanation for a critical period in the life of your onion. It takes about two weeks for the onion to fully establish a root system, and then it should start shooting out new leaves once every two weeks or so. So if a plant has one or two more leaves, it has a chance to have one or two more rings when harvested (one leaf equals one ring). That comes out to about 1/2-1 inch in size.

    As our regular customers know, some onion plants in a bundle are smaller than others. You see, not all the seeds germinate the first time we water them, so there can be a slight difference in size of the plants even within the same bundle. We can't afford to cull the small plants out, but we try to ship all the plants as close to the optimum size as possible. Some folks plant the smaller plants in a certain area, and use them as spring green onions early in the season. What a great idea!

    Wishing you bigger onions,

    signature
    Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

    yellow granex Onion of the Month
    Yellow Granex

    The Yellow Granex is one of the true classics of the onion world. A native of Vidalia, Georgia, this yellow, semi-flat, sweet hybrid can reach five inches in diameter, and takes 100 days to grow to harvest size. It's storable for approximately one month.

    Here's what our customer Delwin Finch has to say about this past year's Yellow Granex harvest:

    Another great year! This is my second year planting Yellow Granex onions from Dixondale, and they are even better than last year! The sets arrived fresh and ready to go. I used the recommended fertilizer/fungicide combination from Dixondale and this increased my yield size tremendously. I now have onions the size of softballs. I highly recommend Dixondale Farms!

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    around the farm From Our Friends

    Every year, Bradley Hawthorne of Wichita, Kansas does something really special with our products: he donates his additional onions to the local food bank. This past year he donated 448 pounds of onions! We think this is a wonderful way to share your harvest with those in need.

    Keep the photos and letters coming, folks, and thanks for being such loyal customers!

    We love hearing from you! 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.


    Around the Farm

    As most people know, the Deep South experienced some unusually cold temperatures during the first two weeks of January. We got down to 18º on the morning of January 9. In preparation for this cold snap, we watered every single field in just four days. Our farm workers did an incredible job of wetting the plants enough to insulate them from these extreme temperatures.

    We've had a few mornings of frost the past few weeks, but no worries -- this tends to toughen the plants so they can stand colder temperatures. The worst freeze we ever had was one where it was 70º on New Year's Eve day, and 10º the next morning. What made it worse was that Notre Dame beat Texas that day in the Cotton Bowl!


    Cooking With Onions
    Shrimp Creole

    • 1 chopped medium onion
    • 6-8 chopped green onions
    • 1 cup of chopped celery
    • 1 thinly-sliced green bell pepper
    • 1 14.5 ounce can of whole, undrained tomatoes
    • 6 tablespoons of tomato paste
    • 3 pounds of peeled, raw shrimp
    • 1 pinch of crumbled thyme leaves
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 dash of cayenne pepper
    • 2 chopped garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
    • 4-6 cups of hot, cooked rice

    After heating the oil in a heavy skillet, sauté all the vegetables except the tomatoes with the thyme, bay, garlic, and pepper until they're barely tender. After mixing in the tomato paste and tomatoes, let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the shrimp, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Serve the mix over hot rice.

    Serves 6 to 8.

    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 customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.


    Q&A: Cold Weather Damage

    Q. How do I know if my plants suffered damage from the cold?

    A. Onion plants have a certain amount of carbohydrates stored up in the bulb. During extreme cold weather, if the plant is able to generate more carbohydrates before it uses up all the carbohydrates it has stored away, then it will live. It usually takes 7-10 days after it warms up before you'll know for sure that it's going to die. The top first turns white, and then completely falls over.

    Watering right before a freeze is usually helpful, since the moist dirt around the bulb tends to insulate it somewhat. Freezes generally cause the ground to dry out significantly, so watering right after a freeze is beneficial as well. After about a week, you can take out one of the plants and see if there's a new leaf starting to form in the center of the bulb. If there is, that means the plant will live.


    Fun Onion Facts

    Back before onion varieties acquired standardized names, those who wanted to be familiar with onions from one place to another really had to know their onions. By the 1920s, the term "knows his onions" had been generalized to mean that someone had a thorough knowledge of a subject. It was first recorded in print in the March 1922 issue of Harper's Bazaar, and is still occasionally used in speech, primarily in the southern U.S. and Britain.


    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 U.S., 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 customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

    phone: 877-367-1015
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