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

  • Affiliations
    MGA
    Top 5
    Watering Your Onions May 2010

    Bruce & Wife Dear Fellow Gardener,

    You have to strike a fine balance with your onions when it comes to moisture. While onion plants tend to respond to adequate watering with high yields and top quality, it doesn't take very much more water to cause them to become diseased and rot in the ground.

    Many onion growers use something called a drip tape irrigation system to water their onions regularly and uniformly. This consists of a series of punctured tapes buried in the ground that deliver water directly to the plant roots, which is an ideal solution for avoiding the fungal diseases that can result from overhead watering. Think of a series of very thin, buried ooze hoses.

    If you plan to use a drip tape system for your onions, make sure it's designed and deployed properly, so that it waters your plants evenly. If some areas are left too dry, the yield will drop; if other areas are too wet, they'll promote nitrate leaching and disease. You're looking for that Goldilocks range, where the moisture level is just right.

    To limit the cost and the amount of drip tape used, install the tapes in the center of the onion beds between the rows, at a depth of 3-4 inches (emitter spacing should be at least 12 inches). Water occasionally but deeply, providing about an inch of water each time. Use the "knuckle rule" to tell when it's time to water. Just stick your finger in the ground around the plants; if you can't feel any moisture up to your first knuckle (two inches), then it's time to water.

    Generally, onions take about 12 weeks to mature, so you should irrigate to one inch once or twice a week, depending on rainfall. The plants require about two inches of water a week, total. A general rule is that when the top of the bed is totally darkened by moisture, you've given your onions enough water.

    Happy irrigating,

    signature
    Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

    Products of the Month
    SeaCide and Mancozeb

    This month, we're taking a look at our best-selling brands of onion-specific fungicides: SeaCide and Mancozeb.

    SeaCide
    Over the past decade, there's been an increased need for organic fertilizers that are just as effective as their chemical counterparts, without being harmful to the environment in any way.

    SeaCide is an excellent solution. The primary ingredient in this 100% natural insecticide is whole-body fish oil. These oils cover the onion plants, creating a natural barrier between the onion and various disease organisms and insects; they also hinder the ability of soft-bodied insects like thrips to breathe, so they leave your plants alone.

    Mancozeb
    Don't let rain and high humidity destroy your onion crop or ruin its storability -- because by the time you realize that your onions aren't storing well, it's too late. This broad-spectrum fungicide is ideal for controlling downy mildew, tip blight, botrytis (a.k.a. gray mold), stemphylium leaf blight, and white tip.


    DixBenRiser From Our Friends

    Here's our friend Ben Risner, with his Dixondale Farms 1015 yellow Granex onions, which won First Place/Best of Show at the Titus County Fair in Northeast Texas. Way to go, Ben!

    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
    2010 in Review

    This may have been one of the busiest years that we've had since starting the mail order business! And it was an exciting one, too. It started off with a wet autumn, which delayed the plantings. Then, in January, temperatures plummeted to just 18 degrees -- and we lost about 30% of the plants that were just coming out of the ground.

    We were able to replant and push those plants to have them ready in April, but it took an unbelievable amount of work on the part of our first-rate farmhands. Then the rains started again due to El Nino, and we were faced with several shipping delays until the plants recovered and dried out. On top of all this, the northern shipping areas experienced an early spring, which made customers even more anxious to receive their onions!

    As farmers, we are aware of and monitor the elements on a daily basis, since we harvest daily. Our onions come freshly harvested from the ground to your doorstep; they're not prepackaged and stored on shelves. Though Mother Nature is usually kind, she sometimes makes us wait a little longer for our onions. So, we work with the sometimes unpredictable weather as best we can to fill your orders.

    We appreciate all the efforts of our excellent farmhands and our wonderful customer service ladies, who answer the phones tirelessly. This has been an unusually challenging season for all of us, so the next time you're on the phone with one of our customer service representatives, let her know how much you appreciate all they do. They'll appreciate that!


    Cooking With Onions
    Tomato and Red Onion Salad with Pesto

    • ½ of a small red onion, diced
    • 4 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
    • ¾ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
    • 1 cup of lightly packed fresh basil leaves
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • Parmesan cheese

    After arranging the tomato wedges on a platter, sprinkle them with diced onions and set the dish aside. Next, combine the other ingredients except the cheese in a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. Drizzle the resulting pesto over your tomatoes and onions, then shave or grate the Parmesan cheese on top. Serves 4+.

    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: Green Onions

    Q. When should I harvest green onions?

    A. Most green onions are simply immature standard bulb varieties, so you can harvest them once the tops grow above five inches in height. A good way to get plenty of green onions is simply to overplant, and harvest the extras whenever you have a hankering for them.

    The younger the green onions, the more delicate the flavor; the longer you let them grow, the more potent they are. Depending on your tastes, the younger ones may be best for salads. Older green onions are better for cooking. If all you want are the greens, you can start to harvest them about a month after planting.

    Since bolting ruins bulb development, you should pull any young bolting onions and use them as green onions, too. All you need to do is pinch off the developing buds and go from there.


    Fun Onion Facts

    Beware of folks playing fast and loose with onion terminology. We've all heard of the famous Vidalia onion, and in recent years people have started applying this term to any sweet onion.

    But the truth is, only an onion grown in or around Vidalia, Georgia can be considered a true Vidalia onion. It's the combination of high water content, South Georgia soil, and the local climate that makes them special.

    By the way, Bruce and Jeanie just returned from Vidalia, visiting large farmers that purchase their plants from us. Few people know that Dixondale Farms provides over 1,000 acres of transplants to the Vidalia region!


    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. 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.

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