|Drip Irrigating Your Onions||May 2011|
One of the best ways to water your onions is by installing a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation allows you to water your onion crop efficiently and evenly while minimizing the chances of rotting and disease, thus maximizing yield. Furthermore, the plants will be better nourished, since drip irrigation keeps nutrient leaching at bay.
Basically, drip irrigation uses lengths of flat, perforated plastic piping that delivers water slowly and easily to the entire crop at relatively low pressure. While you can just lay the drip tape on the ground, we recommend that you bury the tape 3-4 inches deep along the center of your onion beds, between two lines of plants, with emitters spaced no more than a foot apart. This minimizes the use of both tape and emitters.
Apply about an inch of water with each watering, and only water when necessary. Use the knuckle rule to determine when it's time to water: if you stick your finger in the ground and don't feel any moisture up to the second knuckle, about two inches, it's time to water. Depending on rainfall, you should water once or twice a week during the 12-week growing season. As a general rule, when the top of the bed is totally darkened, you've watered enough.
An Excellent Example
Here's a photo from customer John Manry of Lancaster, CA who says, "These are photos of my onions this year! My son helped me plant them in December."
This photo shows a very nice example of a drip system; the spacing is perfect. Thanks, John!
Bruce "Onionman" Frasier
Onion of the Month
Ten Pounds of Texas Sweet
This is one of our most popular products, just packed full of flavor and sweetness -- and it's ONLY available during the month of May. Not only do we hand-select the largest, sweetest onions available to go into each box, we include our favorite onion recipes, too. The price of one box is $19.95, but if you buy two or more, we'll drop the price to $18.95 each.
Remember: you can only get these boxes this month, so order now!
So far, we've received some great onion photos, and look foward to receiving more! In our next issue (June), we'll announce our first photo contest winner, and we'll continue to select and announce winners for the rest of the year. So get those cameras ready, and start sending in those onion photos ASAP!
Here's a quick rundown of the rules:
- The contest will run from June 2011 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|New Videos
In the last few weeks, Bruce has recorded three different videos for us, explaining why we've expanded into different crops besides onions lately. We've posted them on YouTube, so take a look!
Growing cantaloupes. Cantaloupes have been our other major crop for years now; in fact, we're probably the largest cantaloupe grower in the state of Texas. The current crop is maturing quickly, and we'll be deep in the cantaloupe business in the next couple of weeks!
Growing cotton. Cotton's still King here in Texas, where most of the nation's supply is grown. With commodity prices so high, we decided to plant 300 acres this year to see what will happen.
Growing milo. Local feedlots use this grain as a food source for cattle, and many hunters (especially quail hunters) use milo to draw in birds.
|Cooking With Onions|
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons chilled butter, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 1 tablespoon sesame or sunflower seeds, OR 1-1/2 teaspoons poppy or caraway seeds
Set aside 1/2 cup of the onions for toppings. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixing bowl, and beat until the mixture has a fine, crumbly texture. Next, lightly beat in 1/2 cup of onions, and enough milk (1/2 cup, more or less) to make a soft dough. Don't over-beat, or the biscuits will become tough!
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board, and gently pat it into a 7-inch square. Cut it into nine equal squares. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped onion, and your choice of seeds.
Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet, and bake them at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. For best results, eat your biscuits fresh and hot from the oven!
This recipe comes to us courtesy of the National Onion Association. 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: Exposing the Bulbs
Q. Should I expose the tops of my onions as they begin to bulb? They seem to bulb quicker and better if the tops are exposed, but some of my cohorts say that all I'm going to get is sunburned onions. So should I cover them back up with dirt or grass to prevent sunscald? They are kept well watered.
A. We tell people that two-thirds of the onion should be above the soil surface. If soil gets packed around the onion, it's more difficult for it to expand outward, and the bulb size will be restricted.
As for sunscald, the foliage of the other bulbs will protect them from sunburn if they aren't planted too far apart. When you harvest the bulbs, let them dry by shading the bulb of one onion with the foliage of another. Covering them with grass clippings will help, but don't use so much that if it rains, it will keep the bulb wet.
|Fun Onion Facts|
Did you know that there's a Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame? It was founded in 1991 (the same year that the Vidalia became Georgia's official State Vegetable) and honors those "who have contributed to the growth and success of the Vidalia Onion."
To qualify, a person has to be of sterling character and reputation, and must be a leader in one or more of the following areas:
- Protecting and promoting the name of the Vidalia onion
- Protecting and promoting the quality of the Vidalia onion
- Advertising and promotion of the Vidalia onion
- Creative sales methods for Vidalia onions
- Research and growth development of the Vidalia onion
- Demonstrating dedication to the success of the Vidalia brand and the industry as a whole
The Vidalia Onion Committee, which inducts winners into the Hall of Fame, also bestows an annual Vidalia Grower of the Year Award for overall achievement as a producer of Vidalia onions.
|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. One of our latest entries is a recent overview of the maturing cantaloupe crop. Please take a look!