|Two Keys to Growing Better Onions||March 2011|
If you haven't already planted your onions, then you're probably getting ready to do so right about now. But before you do, there are two things that you need to accomplish in order to maximize the size and health of your crop.
First, you should apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your onion beds to control weeds. Second, you'll need to provide your onion plants with a balanced fertilizer, complete with micronutrients that will help them establish healthy root systems.
We sell two types of onion herbicide. Corn gluten is the active ingredient in both our Dixondale Farms All Natural Weed and Feed and Dixondale Farms Weed and Feed (each of which also contains a fertilizer). The gluten acts like an enzyme, attacking and eating any emerging weed seeds whenever activated by moisture. No worries: it won't affect your onions! Our second offering is Treflan Granules, which form a barrier that blocks germinated seeds from growing through to the surface, causing them to die. Again, it won't hurt your onion plants, since their foliage is already above the surface.
You'll need to incorporate both of these products in the top 2-3 inches of the soil, since that's where almost all the weed seeds are. Just rake in the product, plant your onions, and you'll enjoy at least 4-5 weeks of weed-free onions! If you like, you can reapply this material every four weeks for weed control, but you'll also need to add a fertilizer with a higher level of nitrogen to boost onion growth. Speaking of which... A balanced fertilizer (10-20-10) should be applied when the onions are planted, to help establish a healthy root system. Then, three weeks after planting, the onions really only need a rich source of nitrogen, such as our Ammonium Sulfate blend (21-0-0). After the first application of Ammonium Sulfate, apply again every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season, until the bulbing process starts. With this product, you should feed your onions at a rate of 1 cup per 20 feet of row. And remember: always water the fertilizer in after applying.
Bruce "Onionman" Frasier
P.S. A special note to those of you who buy bulk orders: remember, folks, that the cases (yellow and white boxes) have the varieties of the onion transplants printed on their sides!
|Products of the Month |
Weed and Feed
This time we've got two helpful products we'd like to profile: Dixondale Farms Weed and Feed (both regular and all natural flavors), and Treflan Herbicide Granules.
Dixondale Farms Feed and Weed
For years, customers asked us what they could use for weed control in their onion patches. It took us a while, but we finally found an organic pre-emergent herbicide that we've mixed with our special 10-20-10 fertilizer, to provide a one-step product that keeps your onion patch weed-free and grows huge onions! This particular herbicide offers up to 6-8 weeks of weed control, blocking the growth of crabgrass, dandelions, smartweed, redroot, pigweed, purslane, lamb's quarters, foxtail, and barnyard grass. This product comes in both 4-pound and 15-pound bags.
Dixondale Farms All Natural Feed and Weed
The pre-emergent herbicide in this product (corn gluten meal) inhibits the germination of crabgrass, creeping bent grass, barnyard grass, dandelions, redroot, pigweed, purslane, lamb's quarters, foxtail, barnyard grass, and Bermuda grass seeds. Prior to transplanting, mix the product into the soil, both in planting rows and between rows, at a rate of four pounds per 75 square feet. Till it into the top three inches of the soil, and water it in following each application. This product comes in both 4-pound and 15-pound bags.
Treflan Herbicide Granules
Don't let weeds take over your onion crop! These granules provide effective pre-emergent weed and grass control in your transplanted onion garden, simply by preventing newly germinated weeds and grasses from getting established. Apply before transplanting your onions to control obnoxious weeds such as lamb's quarters, purslane, grasses, thistle, and pigweed. A one-pound container will treat up to 1,200 square feet of planted area.
In order to give as many customers as possible a chance to enter our photo contest, we'll continue to receive photo submissions throughout the onion growing and harvesting season. The first winner will be announced in our June issue, and we'll continue to select and announce winners for the remainder of the year.
Here's a quick rundown of the rules:
- The contest will run from June to September 2011, and you may submit one photo per month.
- All onions displayed must be grown during the November 2010- August 2011 season.
- One winner will be chosen each month.
- Each month's winner will receive a Dixondale cap and a Dixondale camo T-shirt (modeled in the picture above), and will be featured in the next month's newsletter as well as on our Facebook page and Web site.
- A Grand Prize winner will be chosen from the past monthly winners to grace the cover of the 2012 Dixondale Farms Catalog, and we'll feature a bio in the November 2011 newsletter and on our Web site and Facebook page.
- The Grand Prize judging will be held in-house, with Dixondale holding all rights to the pictures.
To send us your contest photos, just click here. We can't wait to see 'em!
| Around The Farm|Good News!
We're pleased to announce that Bruce has joined the Board of Directors for the National Gardening Association! He's looking forward to working closely with everyone else on the board.
The NGA offers the Web's largest and most respected array of gardening content for both consumers and educators, ranging from general information and publications to lessons and grants. To discover a
world of gardening possibilities, visit www.garden.org or www.kidsgardening.org.
|Cooking With Onions|
Reader Roger Hamel recently sent us this helpful suggestion:
"May I suggest one simple thing regarding casseroles: before coating the baking dish with the non-stick vegetable spray, be sure to heat up that dish first in very hot water. Then dry well before spraying. I was experiencing stickiness with cold baking dishes before I discovered this. Now I have no stickiness whatsoever."
Great idea. Thanks, Roger!
Onions can enhance so many dishes, and can be consumed raw, fried, sautéed or baked. Please send us your favorite onion recipe, so we can share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can email it to us here. Digital photos of your dish are also welcome!
Q&A: Onions and Potassium
Q. Does K (potassium) contribute the most to the production of large bulbs?
A. It's a little bit more complicated than that, but the process is still fairly straightforward. What potassium (K) does is help the plant develop a strong root system. Nitrogen (N) will then provide the push for foliage that will ultimately produce large bulbs.
|Fun Onion Facts|
If you have problems with your car's windshield frosting up overnight during cold weather, just slice an onion with a sharp knife and rub the cut portion on the windshield. The juice will keep the glass frost-free. Don't worry: it's not especially messy, and will wash right off in the morning.
|We're on Facebook! |
Join the community of friends and growers on our Facebook page! You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, recipes, and even weather information and other tips. We encourage you to add your pictures and growing stories, and to leave something on our Wall.
By the way, check out our YouTube videos! We've been posting links to them on the Facebook Wall. Our latest entries include an overview of the maturing crop filmed on March 1, and a Q&A video to help you determine if your onions were killed by the cold during this latest round of wintry weather. Please take a look, and let us know what you think!