1015Y Texas SuperSweet onions harvested last June.
Realization of the Day:
Despite numerous failures and disappointments in the garden over the years, when it comes to buying seeds and plants I'm still a consummate optimist. I also have no self control. This can be a dangerous combination—and pricey, too.
Last spring was the first time I grew onions from purchased plants rather than onion sets, and despite the fact that many of them bloomed way too early (which means I ended up with some fairly small onions) I enjoyed some delicious success—and still ended up with bigger onions than I've ever grown from sets. (The flowering was most likely due to some wet and wacky spring weather, and I'm hoping to cover this problem in a future post). I wrote a little about last year's onion growing here and here.
For experiment's sake, in late February of 2009 I ordered a total of 10 bunches (approximately 60 plants per bunch) of 9 different varieties of onions (along with hundreds of leek plants—which was a whole other growing adventure I've been meaning to write about) from Dixondale Farms in Texas, the oldest and largest onion farm in the U.S.
I'm running a little later with my ordering and planting this year, but according to Dixondale's shipping schedule, March 9th was their suggested ship date for my area. I also ordered fewer plants and fewer varieties, sticking to the ones that did the best for me last year.
More below. . .
Some of my 2009 harvest: Red Candy Apple, 1015Y Texas Super Sweet, and others.
Here's what I ordered yesterday:
2 bunches 1015Y Texas Super Sweet
2 bunches Red Candy Apple
1 bunch Candy
1 bunch Super Star
The 1015Y Texas Super Sweets (so named because October 15th is the Texas planting date) are a Short-Day open pollinated variety. Red Candy Apple, Candy, and Super Star are Intermediate-Day hybrids. I don't usually allow hybrids in my kitchen garden, preferring to grow open pollinated heirlooms instead, but I make an exception when it comes to onions and leeks, rationalizing that homegrown hybrids are definitely better than none.
According to Dixondale's 'Which Varieties are Right for You' map, Intermediate-Day are the best type of onions to grow here in southern Missouri. I didn't learn until last year that the size of an onion bulb is dependent upon daylength and temperature, not the size of the plants.
I really liked the flavor of the Red Candy Apples—so sweet, and the size was good. I couldn't get enough of them in this Garbanzo Bean Salad with Red Onion, Scallions, Cilantro, Parsley, and Feta Cheese.
I'm embarrassed to admit that none of the yellow Candys ever made it into the ground (I ordered too many onion plants last year!), but since it's Dixondale's most popular variety (they sold over 85 million in 2009), I have high hopes. They say this variety will work almost everywhere in the country and is great for beginner gardeners.
6/5/09: Just harvested super star onions laid out to cure before storing.
The Super Star onions started blooming early, so I ended up picking them on the small side, but the flavor of this white globe-shaped variety was very nice, and the plants were vigorous. And as you can see in the top photo, the 1015Y Texas Super Sweets—which are indeed sweet—did quite well.
If you're gardening by the moonsigns, the best time to plant onions—even though they grow below ground like potatoes and garlic—is on a fertile day in the first quarter, so if all goes according to plan (new bouncing baby lambs and other unexpected farm stuff notwithstanding), I'll be putting mine in the ground on the 18th, 19th, and/or 20th when the moon is in Taurus. You can read more about minding the moonsigns here and here.
In an effort to post more often on this poor neglected garden blog (and keep better track of what's going on in my garden!), my new goal is to write shorter posts (okay, I'm failing miserably so far) that focus on just one or two points. I plan to hopefully write more about growing onions, including soil prep, onion planting, an amazing way I discovered to organically control weeds, troubleshooting, and growing tips in the near future.
In the meantime, you'll find lots of helpful information about growing onions, including online and downloadable guides, on the newly redesigned Dixondale Farms website.
Are you growing onions this year? Any favorite varieties, stories, tips, or other oniony info you'd like to share?
Previous onion posts:
6/2/09: Harvesting Spring Onions Grown from Purchased Plants
10/8/09: Growing Short Day Onion Varieties in Spring and Free Green Onions in Fall
6/7/08: What To Do with 125 Green Onions (Scallions)
6/7/08: Wanted: Your Recipes and Favorite Ways to Use Green Onions
6/12/05: Growing Onions In The Garden
3/16/06: It's Time to Plant Onions!
4/4/06: Operation Onion Complete!
4/26/06: Companion Planting Beets & Lettuce with Onions
Scallions and spring onions should be here soon!
Sour Cream & Onion Dip
Savory Cheese & Scallion Scones
Fiesta Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip
Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw
Summer in a Bowl
Colors of Summer Salad
Healthy Swiss Chard Tuna Salad with Kalamata Olives
Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Cottage Cheese
Garbanzo Bean Salad with Red Onion, Scallions, Cilantro, Parsley, and Feta Cheese
Sprinkled on top of Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip
Three Onion & Three Cheese Pizza
© FarmgirlFare.com, the happy to have onion breath foodie farm blog where buying too much and planting too much are half the fun of gardening, right?