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Ordered my Onion Plants!!

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Today, I ordered my onion plants from Dixondale Farms. I ordered 2 bunches, both short day varieties: Texas Legend and Hybrid Southern Belle Red. Shipping date will be 01/07/13. 2 bunches are probably too many for the space I have allocated to them, one 4x8 raised bed. If I have too many, I have friends I can give them to.

I've never planted onions before and want to give it a try. Dixondale has really ratings here on DG, and they were very helpful in asking all my newbie questions. If these turn out OK, I may try growing from seed next year.

How many others are planting onions from plants, seeds or sets.
Jo-Ann

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

They only need to be planted 4 -6 inches apart each way, so you will have plenty of room. Should do well. They need nitrogen and water other than that they are not demanding. 2013 trying Golden Grande and Pinot Rouge. 2012 was Red Grano

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Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We planted about 20,000 plants from Dixondale this past spring. Though year weather-wise here. Hardly any rain after June 15. We were the only grower with decent onions this year. Biggest were about 2" diameter.
We did Walla-Walla, Super Star, Red Zepplin, Big Daddy, Sterling, Candy & Red Candy. Started selling with Super Star as green onions.
2 years ago, I sent a picture to Dixondale that they used on their web site. That year we had Big Daddy's weighing over 2 lbs.
Up here we set them out end of April.
Pictures from left, 2010, 2012, 2012, 2011
Bernie

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Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

Jo-Ann,

I have been very happy with Dixondale onion plants. I grow the short day varieties and have grown both types that you ordered. You can expect them to do well. It is much less complicated to buy the plants than growing from seed. You can improve the per bundle pricing if you combine with friends and family to order plants together.

Following the growing instructions Dixondale gives on their website will give you good-sized onions. They also need consistent water if you don't have rain. Here are pictures of the freshly planted sets and some of the plants about 2 months later.

David

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Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I order "Candy" onions from Dixondale every year and have been more than delighted with the results.

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

Excited to see how they grow for you, Jo-Ann! I started a few from seeds, but they're in no order in the garden at all, so I hope I'll recognize them when and if they turn up.

If I had more space, I'd do onions and potatoes, but so far, just the leeks and garlic have come up with success.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I just placed my order with Dixondale as well. I'm trying the Texas Legend this year. I've always had good luck with their White Bermuda and Candy. I also alway order the Hybrid Southern Belle Red. One thing I have learned about that one is that it does need extra winter protection if the temps drop. That being said I've had really good results with HSBR. I've amended my onion bed with composted goat poo/hay. Then I just follow the planting directions on the website.

Good luck Jo-Ann and all! Hope this is a really good onion year!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Placed my order yesterday. Short day sampler.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Last year, I got the short day sampler and a bunch of 1015s. We had great success, for us! LOL This year I'm going to order the short day sampler and the new one they've got this year.

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Well, I've got my onion bed all prepared. I added a lot of compost that was mostly chicken poo, and leaves. Also some rock dust. I have my fertilizers. I'm trying to go organic, so I'll be using blood & bone meals along with a complete organic fertilizer until I can approximate the N & P that Dixondale recommends.

My garden was started last spring, and the garden soil I purchased was not the best so I've been working real hard at improving it with compost. Stuff last year & this fall did pretty good, but I've still got some improving to do with the soil.

Jo-Ann

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My onion seeds finally took off about two weeks ago, when the weather started cooling off. They took forever (since sowing them in August), but, once the weather changed, they started fattening up, and are right on target for my target transplant date of the 1st weekend in January.

I've had my Dixondale Short Day Sampler since the end of November, but haven't had time to get them into the ground. No matter. The very first time I planted onion transplants was on my b'day, January 8th, so I can do that again.

Problem now is I've got all the Sampler transplants PLUS my own grown from seeds! Good thing I sowed different seeds (Candy and 1015Y). I still have to put together a frame and a bed for them. I feel another experiment coming on! I've only grown the onions in my patented Earthboxes. Growing inground will be a good comparison. I think I'll fill the RB with Black Kow Composted Manure, worm castings and some blood and bone meal. The EBs will be filled with a mix of half MG Potting Mix, and half recycled pine bark fines and compost.

I suspect the EB onions will outproduce the RB onions, due to the constant availability of the water reservoir -- unless I get some sort of drip tape laid out on the bed. The RB watering might be a bit uneven, but, I'll try my best!

Linda

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Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

I just got my Dixondale short-day transplants in, they were a little...musty from sitting inside for a month, but so far, so good. The onions I grew from seed, I'd started wayyyy too early, since the weather has not just now gotten chilly-ish.

I'd love to try growing ramps this time of year, has anyone this far south tried them?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Nola,
What soil blend did you plant your onions in?

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

Mostly I've been amending my silty, low-ph soil with a mix of compost, potting soil, bark, leaves, worms, whatever's handy...we're right on the bayou, and just moved here after Isaac, so from what I can tell, the soil is sandy, silty, and low in ph, just trying to put in as much organic material as I can.

Lots of weeds, sand, bugs...got a Nola garden for sure, but the family that lived here for 30+ years previous apparently had a good veggie garden, so I'm hopeful!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My family home is on Ursulines Ave., a block from N. Broad. I used to walk completely around the bayou with my best friend, from Orleans down to Esplanade Avenue.

I think we're practically neighbors...

Good move on the organic amendments. They're heavy feeders.

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

Small world! I love this part of town. :)

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I love the WHOLE town, and "yes," "I know what it means, to miss New Orleans!"

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I ordered the short-day sampler from Dixondale too (yesterday). I didn't do all that well 2 years ago with my onions (generic sets from Home Depot) and I didn't grow any last year. I plan to "watch this space" (as the saying goes) for continuing comments, advice and directions on onions, so that I make strides this year.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I did also ordered for the first time from Dixondale this year.
Last year it was the first time I did try to plant Onions and they did great !

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

This is my first time planting both onions & garlic. My ship date for the onions is 01-07-13, so I've got a little over a week to go & I'm so excited!

I think I'll have some extra earthboxes, so I may put any extras in the earthboxes.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Lise, the secret to getting good results from your onions is to plant them and fertilize them exactly as Dixondale recommends. I half-heartedly did this last year and got better results than previous years when I didn't follow their advice. Also, planting them in full sun or in an area that gets a lot of sun helps. Last year, the ones we planted in the most sunny spot in our garden did much better than the ones we planted in a partially sunny spot. This year, I also ordered the larger bag of their fertilizer. I thought hubby's internal defibrillator was going to have to shock his heart back into normal rhythm when I told him the price!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Here is a tip that Eweed posted last year. Praying it will save ya'll from defibrilator sticker shock. Just remember that most of the "specialty" fertilizers were put together with stuff we can find and combine on our own, for lots less.

Which is why I now have my own worm bin started, so I can harvest the ever-increasing-in-popularity worm compost and make my own worm tea. It's not getting any cheaper, except, by starting it in my garage, it just became practically free. And, did I mention there's almost NO real work involved?

Uh hem, back to growing onions,,,,(those in the pic are in patented Earthboxes ).

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=6989146

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San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, gymgirl. Yes, I need to keep things frugal. Is there a good source for the phosphate and ammonium sulphate? I confess, I haven't read Dixondale's directions yet, but if it includes ordering a bag of expensive stuff, it probably won't happen in this garden. I mean, onions are pretty cheap at the store, as my husband likes to point out! lol.

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Linda,
About planting in earthboxes: How many do you plant per box? Do you use the Dixondale fertilizer recommendations in the strip down the center?

Your EB onions look really gorgeous. In addition to the ground, I'll have to try some in Earthboxes.
Jo-Ann

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

LiseP,
Check your local feed stores and nurseries.

I just spoke with my guy at Buchanan's Nursery. Bone meal is your phosphate equivalent. It operates like a time-released fertilizer. The Ammonium Sulfate is water soluble, and will be immediately available. It is high Nitrogen, and encourages the leaf growth you want. The longer it grows, and the more leaves it has, the bigger the onion will be. That's what I've read.

So, get your bone meal and nitrogen, and keep them hydrated , but not saturated.

Linda

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

If you use bone meal, you have to use double the amount OR use it weekly as it's only half the strength of ammonium sulfate.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Jo-Ann,
That was my first attempt, and I did two things wrong. First, I planted 30 per box, intending on thinning them down to every other one down the line. Bad idea, because I was disturbing these VERY shallow-root veggies. This time, I'll plant no more than 15-18 per box, staggering the rows.

Second mistake was planting too close to the edges, which is very EZ to do when you're planting cute little transplants and not considering they'll (prayerfully) be humongous onions one day, and tipping over the "cliff" (just couldn't resist that one...).

So set your babies in at least 3-4" from the edge, and space them at least 4" apart in the rows -- I may get only 10-15 in a box, but I have 8 boxes...

Finally, the reservoirs on the EBs are a blessing to keep them evenly watered!

Almost forgot. I gave them at least two haircuts early on, cuz the long leaves and our winds were threatening to push/pull them off the edge. And, they can take the cold!!! When we had our first hard freeze, I lined up the EBs close others on the long sides , and sandwiched them between a cardboard tent, mainly to protect them from the wind, since the roots hadn't taken hold yet. Any sustained temps below freezing and I'd throw a sheet over them.

Linda

This message was edited Jan 18, 2013 1:49 PM

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks for that reminder, Steph!

Correct me if I was wrong on the Ammonium Sulfate being the high Nitrogen component, please. Didn't run outside to check that bag!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Ammonium Sulfate is something like 20-0-0 and BLOOD meal is 12-0-0. Bone meal is only 1-13-0, so be sure to use BLOOD meal and NOT bone meal.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
The bone meal is for the phosphorus to establish a strong root system . The nitrogen is introduced a few weeks later, after the transplants have taken hold. THe blood meal would be a double hit on the nitrogen, which the Ammonium Sulfate Sulfate will pack with a wallop.

I meant bone meal...

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Sorry, I thought you were talking about nitrogen.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

the larger the onion leaf, the larger the bulb

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Just a heads up from my experience....If you have a crazy digging dog (my Queenie: German Shep mix) cover the beds if you are using the bone meal/blood meal amendments. I just use the spun row cover, she stays away from that, until everything gets rained in a few times. The drip irrigation doesn't seem to do it, must be rain for some reason. Then I can take the row covers off. Since I use these covers on freshly seeded beds to keep the crows off it is not a big deal for me.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Terri!

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Northern (central Great Plains) gardener here, placed my onion order - first time from Dixondale.

1 bunch Copra (my go-to onion the past couple of years, great storage)
1 bunch Sterling (new to me, big white, hoping it's a moderate keeper)
1 bunch Cippolini (new to me, 'artisan' onion)

I will also be starting from 2012 leftover seed (stored in the freezer):
Redwing (a pretty good storing red onion)
Picador shallots (never grown them)
Ambition shallots (love them! This year I am hoping I won't be as lazy as I was last year and plant them in clumps, maybe I'll get bigger bulbs )
Lancelot leek

And of course, the garlic (Georgian Crystal) was put in this fall, sitting under the hay and snow waiting for spring.

Last year with the weather we had (very early dry spring, then drought for summer on) did not get a good crop (except for the shallots and garlic). The year before I had great onions, and the year prior to that very poor onions (new spot, weeds beat me).

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

As an Italian girl, I can say with authority that for cooking, cipollini are the awesomeness. I've never grown them, but yum.

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Quote from Nola_Nigella :
As an Italian girl, I can say with authority that for cooking, cipollini are the awesomeness. I've never grown them, but yum.


Nigella, those cipollini are awesome! When I saw them on the Dixondale website, I was so excited. Until I realized they the are classed as long-day or intermediate onions. I guess we won;t be growing those in New Orleans.
Jo-Ann

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

Jo-Ann: I reckon not, but they are something fine to eat. I put a bunch under a roast and then peel them after they bake, blend up the pan gravy with them, and done.

How're your Dixondale onions going? I got a couple of bags of compost from Nola Green Roots to shore up my own garden, and mine are looking fine considering they're only in bright shade til spring.

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

The shipping date for my onions is 01/07 - so I still have a few days to go. Now, I wish I had ordered them earlier, but you live & learn. I have the beds all ready, amended with compost. I think this weekend, I'll decide exactly where to put the onions and the fertilizer strip. Since I'm going organic, I may also put the fertilizer down. following the Dixondale recommendations.
Jo-Ann

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Jo-Ann,
The onions in my pic were started January 8th. I was harvesting from August to September. I stored them in my garage, and had good ones until the following mid-February.

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