|Best Onions for Your Area||September 2012|
|Click the image to view Bruce's video |
The most important step in ensuring you grow robust onions is to choose the right onion for your geographic area. Onion varieties are characterized by three day lengths: long-day in the north, intermediate-day in the central U.S., and short-day in the southern states.
Onion plants start bulbing based on day length and temperature, not the size or age of the plants. Therefore, how well your onion crop turns out -- and how large the onions get -- depends mostly on growing the varieties best suited for your region. In this issue, we'll explain onion day lengths and help you determine which are best for your area, so you can plan for the upcoming season.
As a rule, long-day onions do better in the region north of the 36th parallel, while short-day onions do better south of that line. Intermediate-day onions will do well in many different areas, generally across the middle portion of the country, depending on the season. Take a look at the map below to get a general idea of onion day length regions. Note that Intermediate-Day overlaps both the Long-Day and Short-Day regions somewhat.
Long-Day Onions stop forming tops and start forming bulbs when the day length reaches 14-16 hours. They're available in both sweet and storage varieties. These onions do best in the region stretching north from the latitudes of central California and New Mexico all the way to central Alaska and southern Canada. Long-day storage onions will store up to eight months. Long-day sweet onions generally mature within 90-100 days, a few weeks before the storage varieties. Both types are available from January until mid-May.
Intermediate-Day Onions require 12-14 hours of daylight, which makes them the most widely adaptable of all our varieties. When planted at the proper time, they'll mature in about 100 days. Unless you live in the southernmost part of the U.S., you should have enough daylight hours to make nice-sized bulbs. All our intermediate-day varieties are very sweet, and are available from December until mid-April.
Short-Day Onions start making bulbs early in the year, when there are only 10-12 hours of daylight. They're planted mostly in the southern third of the U.S. during winter or early spring, and take about 110 days to mature. If planted in northern states in late spring, they'll mature in just 75 days, but will produce smaller bulbs. They're available from November through April 1.
To learn more about when and what to plant according to your region, check out my YouTube video on the subject!
Bruce "Onionman" Frasier
Product of the Month
If you grow onions in quantity, like so many of our customers do, you'll need some good storage options -- especially if you're planning to sell your onions. Our storage bags are ideal.
These orange mesh bags not only provide the ventilation your onions need, they're light and strong as well. They're available in three sizes, with the 10 and 50 pound sizes recommended for larger producers:
You can purchase our storage bags individually or in bulk. Normally they're $2.50 each, but if you buy ten or more, they're $2.00 each. And of course, as with all products at Dixondale Farms, we don't add shipping charges.
From Our Friends
An Excellent Team
David R. recently sent us this delightful photo, along with this message:
"My grandson Ben is seven years old and in the second grade. He helps me plant onions every year. At the 2011 Titus County Fair, we both won a Blue Ribbon, Best of Class Ribbon, and Best of Show in the youth and adult divisions for our onions.
"Plus, if you show something very exceptional, you receive what's called a Sweepstakes Ribbon -- and last year we both got one for the first time!"
Way to go, gents -- you two make a great team!
Got some onion-related photos to share? Send them to us here, and you just might see your photo in a future newsletter!
|Around The Farm |
In the News
We're in the news again! On August 17, Bruce (shown here with wife Jeanie) received the prestigious Texas Vegetable Association Award of Merit. Here at Dixondale, we've experienced significant growth over the years -- from our beginnings supplying commercial businesses with onions, to our expansion to home delivery of onion plants. We're now shipping 100,000 packages of onions to home gardeners annually. And then there's the new Carrizo Cantaloupes brand we've been building -- it's really taken off in the last few years!
To learn more, click here
to see an online article in industry journal The Packer
announcing Bruce's award.
|Cooking With Onions|
- One pound onions, red or yellow, cut into 1/8-inch rings
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons paprika
Mix all dry ingredients together to make seasoned flour. Toss the onion slices in the seasoned flour, separating the rings. Deep-fry them in oil at 365 degrees until crispy and dark brown. Drain well. Makes 16 servings.
|Q & A: Freezing Your Onions|
Q. How can I freeze my onions for later use?
A. First wash and peel your onions, then chop them into ½ inch cubes. Put them in sealed freezer bags, getting them as flat as possible. They'll last in the freezer about 3-6 months. For many recipes, including soups, stews, and casseroles, they won't even need to be thawed before use.
|Fun Onion Facts|
Here's yet another reason to eat your onions: they may fight osteoporosis. Normally, special cells called osteoclasts control bone growth by absorbing excess bone tissue as it forms. However, in some people (especially older women) these cells do their jobs too well, causing bones to become brittle and easily broken.
A 2005 clinical study showed that a peptide called GPCS in white onions destroys osteoclasts before they can damage healthy bone -- at least in rats. Whether GPCS works as effectively against human osteoclasts has not yet been determined. For further details, click here.
All Your Questions Answered
We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on when to order your onions, as well as for tips on planting, caring, feeding, harvesting, and storing them.
Share Your Photos for our Centennial!
Next year marks our one-hundredth year in business, and we'd love you to share in our upcoming Centennial Celebration! In 2013, we'll be featuring even more customer photos than usual in our catalog, newsletters, and other publications. So send us photos and descriptions of your Dixondale onion crops, whether they're recent or from years ago! Just be sure to include your name and location. Send stories about your best and most challenging growing experiences, too, so we can share those with fellow growers.
Post a Review
In addition to sending us your photos and stories, we encourage you to give us feedback on our products. You'll find a "write your own review" link on every product page. Just visit our Web site and click on the product. Don't be shy -- we value your feedback.
Join Us On Facebook!
Join the community of friends and growers on our Facebook page! You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, photos, recipes and even weather information and other tips.
Back on August 10, a customer sent us a photo of onions with flat sides, wondering why this had happened. Well, this demonstrates graphically what happens when you plant onions too close together and the bulbs end up misshapen. We appreciate photos like this, where our customers share their successes and lessons as they "grow" as gardeners.
Be sure to check out our short videos, on topics ranging from how onion plants are harvested to how onions deal with cold weather.