My onions survived. In fact they are doing quite well considering. If you read the previous thread I started I was worried that I lost my 300 onions. As I stated on the other thread the temps here were down to 15 deg w/ a high of 20 deg for three days in a row. I thought for sure I had lost them. I watered them nightly during the freeze, and when the freeze ended I fertilized with 21-0-0. They looked terrible on Feb 3rd when I started the thread. Today is Feb 21 two weeks later. I purchased the onions from Dixondale Farms. They are really good about helping out w/ suggestions about growing onions. They suggested to fertilize w/ 21-0-0 two weeks ago, and they suggested I hit them again tonight. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions earlier. For you folks further north this may help you with your onion crop.
It only gets to -30º around here. Not nearly cold enough to kill an onion. We have a row of bunching onions that were planted from seed 4 years ago. We pulled nearly all of them the first summer. What was left we pulled & sold the next year. Of course we missed some. They have been disked, tilled, & sprayed with various chemicals. As of last fall some of them were still growing strong.
Onion plants from Dixondale that are left in the field because they are missed or not solid, continue to grow the next year.
We always set out our plants early, April 15 or so, & never lost any from freezing. Never thought about it, so don't really know if it damages them. Last year a frost on May 15 froze a lot of our crops. Didn't hurt the onions.
hornstrider, those are some pretty fine looking onions. Listen to Dixondale and you should have good luck.
For a couple years I struggled trying to discover how to grow onions and to some extent reinventing the wheel. All my efforts only produced green onions never bulbs. So I decided that rather than use my intelligence :) to grow big onions I would follow Dixondale's instructions to the letter. I bought their onions, fungicide and fertilizer and went to work. I purchased the Ammonium Sulfate locally.
Last year I had huge onions. To my amazement once they started to bulb out it only took two or three weeks for them to get really big. They didn't all start bulbing at the same time but it was close. It really was a fun experience.
Those are all really pretty onions! My onions are recovering, too. All the leaves that were above ground during the freeze are dead, but new growth is coming on quickly. I'll get a picture tomorrow. I'm ecstatic that they recovered.
David...I thought about you when I started this thread. We are just a couple of miles from each other, and experienced the same concerns. I believe you were as worried about your onions as I was mine...I believe both of our onion crops will do just fine...We also have another common problem...Water...Do you get your water from the Jonah high dollar water company?? Not only is our water expensive, but high in mineral content (sulfer)...I did something about my water issues this year...I acquired a 250 gal. polypropylene tank. I painted it this weekend, and I intend to catch rain water from the roof of my shed...Tonight I will install gutters to catch the water, and funnel into the tank...
"If we told non-gardeners that we actually take photos of our onions, they would think we are weird!"...Honeybee...If I told my hunting/fishing friends that I took pics of my veggies I would never hear the end of it
Here's a picture of my onions. They don't look nearly as good as they did before the freeze, but many are recovering. I would guess that I lost about 20-25% of the transplants. The area I took a picture of is slightly worse than most of the rest, but you can see that there are several plants that are completely dead (red circles). There are others that are recovering pretty well, so I guess I will have some onions.
I do have issues with water...I'm on Jonah, but I don't have sulfur problems. There is a lot of calcium and other dissolved minerals. Water collection is a good idea. I have thought about having a surface water well drilled for the garden and my fruit trees. I'm near Brushy Creek bottom, so the water isn't far down. There was an old dug well on the property next to me that was filled in not long ago, so I know water is available. It's just a lot of money up front.
Honeybee--you should see the eye-roll I get from my wife every time she sees me taking pictures in the garden!
Oh, yes! That is exactly what my onions look like. My garlic and Egyptian onions looked the same last year. And they went on the produce well. I think my onions will do the same. Hope springs eternal =D!
I'm growing Dixondale's short-season sample, planted out on January 8th. With the squirrelly weather, I was concentrating on keeping them warm n protected. But I've neglected feeding, and haven't fertIlized since plantout! I used bonemeal @ Plantout.
How and what are you all feeding with? Also how often are you watering??
P..S. My onions are growIng in Earthboxes. The ones that have made have grown really tall green tops that Are floppIng over. should I trim them back? If so, how far to trim.
Gymgirl...My onions are doing great!! Thanks for asking. It looks like your little soldiers are doing great also. I sort of have a picture. It was a picture taken the night of the last freeze a few weeks ago. You can see the onions to the left. You can seem my protected mater plants. They all made it...thank goodness. They survived two freezes. I believe my method really works...next picture below
I am growing onions again this year, I only grew them the first year I gardened. I missed being able to walk out into the garden when I needed an onion. I don't care if they bulb or not, it's hard to store them where I live, it's too hot and humid I guess. I don't use them fast enough when I get them from the store, but it's great having them in the garden.
The folks I hunt with have gardens as well, they would think nothing of pictures of onions. I was there just yesterday listening to garden stories.
My onions have recovered pretty well from the freeze. They are starting to bulb up, but the tops are still nicely green and upright, so I have hopes for a good bit of growth still to go. I'm watering weekly, since we have been getting ZERO rain.
dreaves, I wish I could send some of our rain your way. Our ground is saturated, any more rain will turn into floods. Mud everywhere, any low spot has standing water. We made raised beds a few years ago, without them there would be no spring plantings in the veggie garden. We could use some sun-shiney days.
It is raining here today. We haven't had much and about half of the rain we did get in this area skipped around our little farm. So this rain was much wished for! It is coming up from the southwest, dreaves, so I hope you are getting some rain out of this too. My onions look just about like yours. This was not a good spring for my brocolli for some reason, but the onions look pretty good!
I've been watering every other day! And fertilizing with a mild phosphorous (bone meal) once a week. I have noticed the bulbs put on growth immediately after I feed and water. I'm about to up the ante on the fertilizing to once every 5 days. I sprinkle the bone meal over the soil and water in.
When I check yesterday evening, I lifted one of my tipped over onions, and it seems to be loose enough to stand upright. I might try it and see if I can hill up around them once again. Problem is my soil is so loose, it doesn't compact around the bulbs, and the windstorms just lay them down!
Linda, save your weekly bone meal application, it is not water soluble and you're just wasting it. It really needs to be applied to the soil, worked in, and then it is broken down and made available to the plants.
David, glad to hear your onions are doing so well. I know you were worried about them for a long time. Lookin' good to me! I pulled some of mine last week just to cook up the greens, yummy!
You really only need a one-time application of bone meal, applied to the soil at planting time. If you want something later, which really shouldn't be necessary since bone meal is a long term provider of P, you can make a tea of bat guano or good compost.
Recently I found out ya'lls Texas soil is often more alkaline than acid so you could also apply cottonseed meal, giving you both N and P as well as lowering your pH a bit (unless you've already added sulfur to do the pH adjustment).
Then again, if you are growing in containers/EB's/etc, and you've applied a balance fertilizer to those you probably don't even need added P.
Lastly, finely ground phosphate rock is a long-term supplier of phosphorus and IS water soluble. However, don't use it weekly, as you have been, but rather on a one-time basis, applied to the soil sparingly. Over-use of water soluble phosphorus is one of the most detrimental attacks on the ecology.
Hope this helps!
Shoe (draggin' his tired behind back out there to keep on keepin' on...and now wanting onions greens for supper tonight!) *grin
Ok. Since I can't rustle up any bats in a hurry and ask them to produce some guano on demand, I guess I'll have to use that bag of ROCK PHOSPHOROUS I just happened to have picked up at some point last year, and forgot what to do with it!
HAPPY EASTER! (Linda, who isn't being very politically correct here, but who can not afford to be...)
I'm certainly not an expert but am sure they will be fine.
It may not grow as large a clump of onions as it has a shorter time to develop them.
The ones I have will die down by June and can be dug or allowed to lay dormant till fall begins.
So I plant them now. They will dye in the summer ... but I dunno worry, right?
Only the foliage dies down in summer. If you leave them in a perennial bed ( potato onion or multiplier onion ) they will lie dormant like your daffodils. At the right time, they will sprout next Oct. and start developing again.
Or you could dig the bulbs that had formed and eat or replant them.
My onions are much stronger and are going to be ready to pull earlier than last year. The mildness of the winter has something to do with that I'm sure. A few of the plants are starting to break over, which I've heard is an indication that they are close to maturity. Most of the yellow and white onions are at least the size of the ones in the photos below. Some of the red onions are a bit larger, but I forgot to get a picture of those.
Nice onions. Have you started cutting back on water?
About the size I am growing, baseball size. No softball size ones for me this year though. I let onion thrips get ahead of me this year so the green tops suffered. Actually the small ones are good for the kinds of salads I eat, a cucumber slice, a thin onion slice, a tomato slice and a Jalapeno slice stacked one on top of the other and drizzled with olive oil and vinager...and that's a bite.
I pulled about two-thirds of my onions today. I left everything that still had a firm neck and harvested anything that was breaking over. The photo is a mix of Southern Belle Red, Red Cajun, Yellow Granex, Texas 1015Y, and Texas Early White. The Early Whites are a little smaller than advertised, but everything else is pretty well as expected. The Southern Belle Reds and the Yellow Granex are the biggest. The Red Cajun are probably the smallest.
I dug the gumbo onions today. They are a smaller onion but tasty. They are on trays in the GH drying righ now.
I'm hoping to dig the rest of the multiplier bed by the weekend so I can plant other things in it. It is a raised bed which I put rotting wood as the base layer. The roots from the onions had reached deep into the wood and I pulled up chunks of it with the clumps of onions. We've not had measurable rain from almost a month and the wood was still damp. Interesting! Kristi
That is interesting. I have rotting wood...what type of wood was it if I may ask. I have some fallen oaks in the back of the pasture. We have a lot of it ready to stack for firewood, but some of the branches were already rotting. It would be nice to do something with them.
Terri ~ I used rotting pine limbs as a base in this raised bed. I also have a pit bed and started with rotten hardwood branches ~ small and large. Last year even as dry as it was, the tomato plant roots had reached down and grew throughout the wood. It really appears to work. If you are interested, you might do an internet search for Hugelkultur. I think there are only a couple types of wood that aren't recommended for use.
Right now, I have an old pile of firewood that needs to be bedded and planted... lol
I was pleased with Southern Belle (red) I planted last year. This year I was disappointed with Red Creole..too small. My Texas Early White and 1015Y did OK. Next year for me it will be Texas Early White, 1015Y and back to Southern Belle.
The Texas Early White is advertised as a long keeper. We shall see.
I had 1015s and Southern Belle Reds last until Christmas. That is much longer than advertised for both. Hopefully the whites will last even longer. I will do a taste test for all five varieties I have once they have cured.
Saw your posting on FB to Dixondale. I asked a similar question, but got no response either. I guess we will learn by experience if we should have pulled the final onions once wet. I could have pulled all mine yesterday, before we got rain last night. Now they are very wet, and going to get wetter with more rain today. Hopefully they are still growing and the moisture doesn't cause rot!
David very impressive crop of onions. I picked most of my onions this past weekend. My crop was OK, but not like years past. I will pick the rest maybe tonight...if it's not raining. Speaking of rain David, how much did you get last night. I got maybe 1/2 inch.
Also what is the best way to cure my onions. In years past I have let them sit on my patio in the shade for a week or so. When should I cut the stems. This year I plan to take my onion harvest to the Hog Farm in Marble Falls. I think I mentioned we discovered a root cellar. What is the best way to store them in the root cellar?
The way you have your onions pictured is how I lay mine to cure. I leave the tops on until they are completely dry, then I cut with scissors. I store the onions in large mesh bags (laundry bags) and hang them in the garage. Hanging in your root cellar would be even better. It should be cooler than my garage is for most of the summer. Maybe someone with more experience than me will comment on their storage methods.
We got about 1/2" of rain here, too. For all the wind and lightning, there wasn't that much water. I did have enough wind that I had to straighten tomato cages this morning. Only one, one an edge of the garden, was blown completely over.
I got a Facebook reply from Dixondale. They said that it wasn't a big deal if the onions get wet before harvest, and that we should just keep pulling them as the tops fall over. My garden is just wet enough to be messy, so I am going to wait until it dries a little before I pull any more onions.
A couple shots of 1/2 my onion crop. No more Red Creole for me. Back to Hybrid Southern Belle Red.
When the stems are dry and crisp using scissors I cut them off about an inch or more away from the onion. They are then stored on baby bed springs suspended from floor joists under my log cabin. The cabin is built on pier and beams skirted with vertically placed logs. The environment under the cabin stays cool and dry in summer.
Last year the onions started sprouting last week November and by second or third week December all remaining (about 10 - 20) had pretty much sprouted.
Mary, mine are for my use only. One a day for six months will consume 3 bunches (what I buy) of 60 onion transplants. This year My three bunches consisted of many very small plants that I went ahead and planted for a total of 287 plants. About 80 to 85 % made onions so I will have extras to share with a couple neighbors who appreciate home grown veggies.
In my experience, Dixondale is pretty generous with their "60" onion bundles. The Yellow Granex had about 75 plants in the bundle, all the others had even more. I would guess that the 1015Y bundles had close to a hundred each. A few of the smallest plants didn't make it, but I have a good number of onions from 6 bundles. I will get a final count when I trim the leaves and sort into bags. I'm guessing I have well over 500 onions that made it through the season. I share mine with neighbors and family, too.
I could not plant all the ones I got from Dixondale, gave away most of them but that friend is suffering some serious fungal problems in her beds and I think she lost most of the onions and tomatoes.
So - - - by 'tops fall over', do we mean one or two stalks has bent over or all of the stalks need to bend before harvesting? I've a couple of onions that are poked pretty far out of the soil but the stalks are 'standing tall' still. I have so few that I really don't want to sacrifice any to a premature harvest. Thanks for any help. No time to get a picture this morning, gotta run. Maybe this afternoon.
trg, thanks for the tip re: Hybrid Southern Belle Red. I've tried the Red Creole twice now thinking that as I am close enough to the LA state line I would have success with them. They've disappointed me twice and I was thinking I just couldn't grow a red onion in my area. I'll place my order early this fall and include Hybrid Southern Belle Red. I've had real good luck with several other varieties from Dixondale. The onion patch is definitely an area that I am expanding as it is working out so well for me! Also thanks for the tip for the box springs. I've been storing mine in laundry baskets, which work fine, until you get to the bottom layer. I was trying to think of a way to store all my onions in just one or two layers. Or learn to braid them and hang them along the panty shelves. Gardening is such fun! Always something new to learn. =)
dreaves...I have purchased my onions from Dixondale Farms for a number of years. I have been very please with their product until this year. I ordered my onions early, and when it was time for me to plant they had not shipped my onions. I called them, and they said they could not get into their fields to harvest due to the heavy rainfalls. I said I needed to plant so they shipped what the had ready. The onions were small, and puny looking, and I planted anyway. After a couple of weeks the onions still looked puny so I pulled them, and purchased new onions from the Natural Gardener in Austin. Their onions were of much better quality. I really can't blame Dixondale since they were being flooded, but I will probably purchase from The Natural Gardener going forward. At least I can see what I am buying, and the prices are about the same.
The whole top will fall over. Pull your crop when most of the tops have fallen. You can leave any that are straight for later harvest.
I think I got lucky and got my order before the rain. Does Natural Gardener say where they get their plants?
They may not be able to ship any earlier because the plants aren't ready. Texas 1015Y onions are theoretically started in mid October. Shipping in mid November would mean plants are only 4 weeks old. That's pretty small for shipping...
I think the Red Cajuns are just smaller onions. From the Dixondale website, they are described as being 3-4 inches. Three inches isn't all that big, about the size of a tennis ball. I haven't tried them yet, but the difference between Red Cajun and the Red Belle is that the Cajun is supposed to be hotter, with more zip. The Southern Belle Red is supposed to be sweeter, not spicy.
(PS-- What I've been calling Red Cajun is "Red Creole", sorry)
If I chop and freeze, then I should have enough onions for the entire year! How do you freeze? I was thinking that I could put on a cookie sheet, in a single layer, then bag after frozen. Is there a better way? Do you freeze in single use sizes, or do you have large bags that you scoop out the desired amount of onion?
David - I chop my onions, place them in a single layer on a non-stick cookie sheet, and place them in the freezer. My freezer has a special shelf meant for pizzas, which is why I purchased this particular freezer (for freezing veggies, not pizzas).
I then scoop the frozen onions into freezer bags. This way you can remove as much as you want without having to thaw the whole contents.
This is the chopper I purchased. I've tried others, but this one does the best job:
Linda - sorry not to have replied sooner - been on vacation for the past week at Nags Head beach. My usual "tan" is even deeper now ^_^
I assume you managed to find the same freezer I have? You will love it! It's real easy to find stuff with all the pull-out baskets. Be sure to leave plenty of space all around it. You will find the outside gets quite warm to the touch.