My onion order should be here....

soonergrandmomFebruary 19, 2013


Such a great time too, with a forecast of SLEET, SLEET, & FREEZING RAIN, a low of 25 degrees, and a 2 inch soil temp of 38. Does this sound like gardening weather to you?

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I am raising onion popsicles.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:05AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I am convinced that the arrival of Dixondale onions brings rain, sleet, snow or hail. It seems like it happens to me every year, and it doesn't matter if I ask them to ship at the "normal" time for my location, or 1-2 weeks earlier or later.

Too bad we cannot order Dixondale onions for delivery in July or August....we could break our own droughts that way.

We are only supposed to get rain here, and it is raining lightly right now. I'm glad the ice and snow are supposed to stay well north of us.

Maybe we get ice at this time of year in order to discourage everyone from planting anything too early.

I hope the ice doesn't fall on anyone in a large enough amount to bring down power lines or trees.

On the bright side, there's been some wildfires lately and the rain, sleet, snow or ice....whatever happens to fall....will stop that for couple of days until the dormant vegetation dries out again.

We sure do need precipitation, whatever form it arrives in.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 6:46AM
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Last night, I dreamt that I went to TLC to purchase some dixondale onions and the place was mobbed. People grabbing, pushing, fighting for the last few pathetic bunches. I finally got to the rack and found two bunches labeled "fuzzy" onions. My brain evidently made that up.

Any dream interpreters out there? I bet this dream means I am having anxiety that I haven't done anything to clear more grass from my onion bed in several weeks. Each week I've procrastinated, but then I have felt vindicated when we have blustery weather come in, and then Sunday will roll around with beautiful weather and I think "I should get out there. Ugh. Grass. Maybe I'll watch this movie instead."

It is snowing now in OKC, more on the north side where I live than downtown where I work. We're supposed to get off and on precip until tomorrow, up to 6 inches of snow, with precip total of 2 inches. Maybe it will be dried out enough for me to pull grass on Sunday when it should be in the 60s!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I think the dream was hilarious, but won't try to interpret it.

What I do in winter is take advantage of nice days to work, and then don't worry about it when the weather is crappy. Sooner or later the weather changes again and then I can get back outside and finish whatever I had started days or weeks earlier on the last pretty day.

I bet you'll have a beautiful day to work outside on Sunday and maybe that will chase away any anxiety about getting that grass out of there.

We don't even have sleet in our forecast, but we had a small amount of sleet mixed in with rain a little while ago. We are above freezing (currently at our forecast high for today of 42) so it melted away quickly.

I hope the snow that falls is a heavy wet snow because that would give you a higher 'rainfall' total when it melts than light, powdery snow would.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:35AM
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You were dreaming about that new genetically modified onion created by Frankenseedapaloosa Inc. The new and wonderous "Fuzzy Onion" was developed by splicing genes from the CHR3 Chromosome from a Cotton Tail Rabbit (Sylvilagus transitionalis) into the genome of the Yellow Granex onion. This resulted in a genetically modified onion which during temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit has an appearance like any other onion. But when the temperature drops below freezing the onion skin exhibits follicle protrusions and tiny hairs rapidly develop and sprout, producing a fuzzy appearance to the onion. Hence, the name "Fuzzy Onion". With their fur coat established, this new variety is able to resist temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit without exhibiting significant stress. An unseen development of these onions is that when they are planted too close to one another they develop characteristics of multiplier onions. They can become an invasive cultivar when this happens. So care should be taken in the spacing of the Fuzzy Onion transplants.

Ok I'm done. Of course I am joking. Unfortunately the science of genetic engineering makes this sort of thing believable in this day in time. We live in strange times...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Mia, I would like to get some of those "Fuzzy" onions, maybe they would stay warm in this crazy weather. Its still snowing here, south of Ft. Smith, but nothing like you are getting. The weather Man tells us to get ready for 1/4" to 1/2" of ice. the snow is bad enough, no way do we need ice.

I have potatoes ready to plant but the weather is nowhere near ready for potatoes.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:57AM
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It is 32 and snowing hard in Grove. I drove 300 miles across Oklahoma on Monday, and 300 miles back home yesterday and it looked really dry in most of the State. We have had almost 5 inches of rainfall this year, so we are not as bad as most areas.

I came home a day earlier that I had originally planned and didn't know there was a storm on the way, but I am really glad I made that decision.

I am scheduled to teach a class tonight, but I am hoping everything will cancel. I am watching the Channel 6 school closings and 14 schools have either closed early or are cancelling evening classes. I imagine that a lot more schools and churches will be added to that list soon. If I don't have to go out tonight then I will just hibernate for the next couple of days.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:44PM
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I planted 400 feet of onions last week! I covered them and crossed my fingers!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 4:16PM
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I know how you feel tulsacityfarmer. I've got 90 bunches (roughly 5400 transplants) of onions planted and sticking up out of the snow. (I sell vegetables as a side business.) You and others might like to read part of a Dixondale Farms blog about bolting (and other issues). See the link below. Here is a quote:

"At a point when the plant has at least six leaves and experiences an extended period of cooling temperatures, it can go dormant a second time."

I remember reading this a year or two ago, but after reading it again today I trudged out to the garden to count the leaves. (Kind of like reading the tea leaves of the onion's future;-) Most of mine have two or three leaves. A few have four. I didn't see any with six. So, maybe my onions are young enough and everything will be ok. I realize that nature is often more complicated than a pat and simple formula, but I'm gonna go with it until I see differently this spring. Those that bolt will get chopped up and put in the freezer.

Ya'll might also want to check out what they have to say about onions bulbing. It's on the same link as the other info. To help understand how many hours of daylight we have in Oklahoma during different parts of the year you can go to this website:

It is for Oklahoma City. The first chart shows the amount today and then tomorrow...etc. The second chart shows the amount in each month of the year.

As a side note, I have no affiliation with either of these websites. I bought my onions from Dixondale Farms, but that is it. The second website I found doing a Google search. There are other sites which provide similar info. if you would rather do your own search.

I've had no comments with my attempt at humor further up the thread. I guess I need to stick with gardening... Hey it was fun trying.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dixondale Farms - The Onion Patch

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Scott, I loved your comment about the fuzzy onion. I am always hungry for a laugh, and you gave me one.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I would think that nobody here should have to worry about bolting at this point if (a) your onions were roughly 1/4" in diameter or smaller with less than 5 or 6 leaves when planted, and (b) they haven't started making much growth yet. If the onions have been in the ground only a week or two, they should still be kind of waking up and realizing they've been replanted and should be starting to grow....but not yet making a lot of new active leaf growth.

If you planted them real early because of some of the lovely warm days we've been having, there might be more of a bolting risk if they already have started making good vegetative growth as evidenced by fresh green leaf growth.

If you're an area that's getting freezing rain or sleet, I hope you mulched them or covered them up. Extreme cold plus freezing or frozen precipitation might be pretty hard on young onion plants, especially if they are in slow-draining soil.

The magic numbers that cause bolting seem to be temperatures around 45-50 degrees for a prolonged period of about 2 weeks. Dr. Cotner said 45 degrees in his book, but Dixondale says 50 degrees, and since Dr. Cotner's book was written in the 1980s, I suppose we likely know a little bit more about bolting now that we did then, so I'd go with Dixondale's 50 degrees.

Other forms of stress sometimes can cause bolting, but it seems like most often it is just the cold spells that occur after we've already put our onions into the ground. Sometimes, though, if south Texas has had a lot of cold weather, Dixondale's onion plants (or onions from any other grower in similar conditions) may have been exposed to cold temps in the growing fields before they're ever shipped to us, and there's nothing we (or they) can do about that.

You can prevent the damage from cold spells somewhat by mulching your onions to keep them warmer and by covering them up with floating row cover on particularly cold nights.

Also, take care not to feed them during their first 2 or 3 weeks in your ground. If you feed them while the temps are still pretty cool, the fertilizer can kick them into a more rapid growth spurt and get their leaves up above the magical 5 or 6 that leads to the bolting relating to the fact that they are biennials. If you're going to fertilize, wait until the likelihood of a prolonged cold spell has after Easter. Don't we always seem to have a long cold spell here right before or right after Easter about 9 years out of 10?

Last year I planted onions in 3 rounds. The first ones went in about right on time, which for my part of OK is mid-February. The second ones went in about a week later, and the third round went in about a week after that. It rained and rained and rained (two separate rainy spells that each dropped 3" of rain about a week apart, plus other miscellaneous rainy days). The first two plantings didn't really bolt---they were too cold and too wet and died....rotting right there in the ground. The third planting was just fine. This year they're all going into the taller raised beds in the old Peter Rabbit garden because those beds have the best drainage, and I've even added more sand to those beds than they had last year. I can't do much to change the conditions if they turn drastically colder, but I can give them better drainage than they had last year.

I haven't put any of my 7 bundles of Dixondale onions into the ground yet because I wanted to get past this week's cold, wet weather first, although I really wanted to plant them last week when they arrived. I fretted about it all week, knowing that getting them right into the ground is better for them....but not when prolonged cold weather and precipitation is forecast. I'm not even sure if next week looks good enough, but I'll probably put them into the ground next week anyway. Sometimes if we wait for the "right" weather here, we'll never get our onions in the ground.

We have a chance of hail tonight and tomorrow morning here, though our temperatures should stay warm enough that at least we won't have sleet or snow (if the forecasters are right). Hail is rare here in February but some parts of OK had it already this week, so who's to say we won't? If I'd already put my onions in the ground and hail was in the forecast, I probably would have put cardboard boxes or buckets or something over them to keep the hail off of them. I have had onions bolt after they took a good hard pounding from fairly large hailstones.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Thanks for encouragement,I'll cross my fingers the next couple of days.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Scott - you are TOO funny! Fuzzy onions indeed! I guess that will be best served with Frankenfish, huh?

Sometimes we all take gardening far, far too seriously. I do understand why. It is serious business trying to produce one's own food for the year. But, it's also nice to have a sense of humor about it to break the dead solemnity of gardening. Gives you a new perspective and lightens the mood. I find I have to laugh sometimes to keep from crying, lol! Especially when gardening in Oklahoma with all its variables.

It does seem like getting a comment on humor here is sometimes like pulling teeth.....with tweezers! Try not to take it personally. Everyone here does enjoy an injection of levity into the equasion, but it may have been tamped down by the two preceding grim summers we've had.

I love a bit of jest and love adding some frivolity to the mix. But, I rarely get a nod for it either. Still, it doesn't put a cork in my attempts. So, I probably do it more for myself than for anyone else.

Keep it up! I'll definitely laugh with you!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:46AM
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Yet another reason GardenWeb needs a "like" button! I had a good laugh thinking of onions wearing little rabbit-fur vests to stay warm.

ScottOkieMan, are you in OKC? Do you sell at the Farmer's Markets? I try to occasionally stop by the Chesapeake (now Whole Foods) market in the summertime, but since I have begun gardening so much on my own, my need to buy has lessened. I do love going there and browsing, though! Also love to pick up fresh bread and jams and some fruits I do not grow, too.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:32AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

well I didnt plant near what some have. we did cover the 100 or so that we did plant. Hope they make it.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:17PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tulsacityfarmer and Mike, If y'all have not already had or will not have temperatures below 20 degrees and if the soil drains well, the onions shouldn't be in danger. Hope that puts your worries to rest.

If certain Big Ag companies have seen Scott's post on fuzzy onions, they probably already have "breed fuzzy onions" on their To Do list....just one more GMO thing we won't want to eat.

You know, gardening in this part of the country brings lots of tragedy into our lives....we need the comedy too in order to make it all bearable.

We didn't get as cold last night as they said we would, and they have raised our forecast low for tonight a few degrees so that is good news down here....I hope maybe y'all are having similar upward adjustments in your forecast lows too.

It is sunny and very windy here....feels more like March this afternoon than February.....and March is only a week away. Woo hoo!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:40PM
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I think it will be several days before I can plant anything, even in a raised bed. Our Mesonet station shows that we got almost no rain, but I just poured over an inch and a half out of the rain gauge. I was gone for a couple of days, and then this storm arrived, so it is an accumulation of several days, but that is still a lot of water.

Our temp is 35 so the ice has melted. We had snow yesterday morning which melted during the day, and sleet during the night followed by rain. Most of the day I could see ice on the bar-b-que grill and other metal and concrete objects, but it finally warmed up enough to melt that. My next three nights are to be 21, 19, and 25 before they start to warm a little.

Dawn, when I was in Carter county this week, I saw several grasshoppers and I agree with you that it isn't a good sign. We were in a cemetery and I pointed out 3 to my nephew and he was shocked to see them this early.

I have many, many onions waiting to be planted, but that isn't an option right now.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:47PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Well, I checked the weather conditions to pass on to Reed since he is driving south down the interstate later today and they have changed our overnight low back down to COLD temperatures.

This morning, we started out with a forecast low of 27. Then they raised it to 30. Now they've lowered it to 24. I guess the big puddles in our driveway will turn into little ice skating rinks for the cottontail rabbits, birds, possums and other little varmints that roam around at night.

I'm glad I ha moved all the tomato and pepper seedlings inside from the unheated greenhouse before this cold spell hit. The greenhouse will stay 6 to 8 degrees above the outside air temperature if we'd had a sunny day and I remember to close the doors and vents before the sun sets and we lose the built-up heat, but I wouldn't trust them out there tonight with a forecast low of 24.

You guys with onions in the ground need to double-check your forecast low for tonight. If we're gonna be 24 degrees down here, what will it be like where you are?


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:51PM
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Of course...I planted mine. I'm glad I read this thread today (and checked the forecast lows for the next few days), because I need to get out there and get them covered the the cold!



    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Thanks for the comments about my bit of humor. I have a very dry sense of humor, and after the last two years of drought...well, maybe what is needed is some humid humor;-)

Okiedawn, I just checked and my low for tonight is also forecast to be 24 degrees. I live on a ridge, and the sun is shining here right now, hopefully putting some heat in the ground, so maybe my onions will make thru the night ok. I've got very good drainage in my soil so the moisture we have had is not a problem. I'm glad we've gotten as much as we have.

MiaOKC, I'm a bit farther south than OKC and the farmers markets there. I sell at the Ada Farmers Market, and if this year goes well I may also sell at the McAlester market. I've never sold there before, but if I am able to get the production I am hoping for I might need to try it out. They hold their market during some different days than Ada's. I have another business which is my main occupation and the gardening is a side business. An important source of income, but still a side business.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 5:51PM
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Scott: You must have an incredibly creative brain to come up with a story like that! It has enough semi-truths and quasi-facts to resonate. I'll bet you made it up on the fly.

DH is a master at making up stories like this. He has dyslexia so the way he thinks and processes info is different - very creative, not in a straight line. I think the off-the-wall creative stuff is part of the dyslexia package for many who have that gift.

Keep them coming!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:25PM
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I came to this discussion with a purpose, which was to ask if your onions arrived? If they did, is it safe to assume you haven't been able to plant them because you were away and then got snow? (mentioned hibernating)

I also have a quick question about storing onions. I've never grown onions before, but ordered six bunches from Dixondale: Candy, Red Candy Apple, Super Star, Texas Legend, Cippolini, and Red Cippolini. The onion plants are scheduled to ship around March 1.

Re: storage - what works best? When I ordered the onions, I didn't think to order storage bags. Dixondale offers 5#, 10#, and mesh netting that is tied in knot.

From what I've read, it's good to use net bags to store onions after they have cured.

Do you have recommendations re: size (5 or 10#), and whether the mesh storage bags or long mesh netting works better? Depending on your advice, I'll contact Dixondale to see if I can add storage bags to my order.

Many thanks!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Pam, My onions did arrive, and no, I have not planted them. Yes, I did go to southern Oklahoma for a funeral and to visit with my relatives for a few hours. It is 300 miles each direction, so I came home a little tired, and I have only done the necessary things since I returned, but at least I got home before the bad weather hit. We have had snow, mist, rain, freezing rain, and sleet since I returned. Tonight our temp is going to 20, but all of the snow and sleet melted today.

My husband went to Colorado Springs for another family funeral and by the time the service was over, the weather was too bad for him to start home, so he is visiting friends in Denver for a few days. They had called and invited him but he had declined thinking he would only go to CS and return. Since he would have been driving through the storm no matter which route he took home, I suggested he go to Denver for a little vacation. This friend he is visiting was his best friend and hunting buddy for all of the years we lived in Colorado.

Back to onions.....Dawn gave me two onion storage bags which I chose to call 'onion socks' although I don't know what I should call them. Dixondale calls them 10 pound Mesh Netting.

I tied a knot at the bottom, put an onion in, then tied a knot above it and added another onion, etc, etc, etc. It is kind of like the old method of storing them in panty hose. Before knotting they are 9 feet long. When you hang them, air flows all around them which helps the onions to keep longer.

The 'sock' is wider than it needs to be for one onion so Chandra took advantage of that and put 3 onions in one spot before he tied a knot. If they were really big onions that might be too heavy since I'm sure they are called 10 lb. mesh netting for a reason.

I liked them for storage, but I untied mine instead of cutting them, and they are a little messy as the onion skin seems to shed when you start pulling them out of the sock, plus it isn't easy to untie them. I bought 10 more this year, but I am going to separate them with a twist tie instead of a knot. I also think that I will remove them from the sock outdoors, one sock at a time and just keep that many onions in a basket in the kitchen so I don't make a mess every time.

I bake bread and bought a box of a thousand bread bags, then I needed twist ties for them and couldn't find them locally, so I placed an on-line order. They were on sale, so I got carried away and I think I bought a life time supply so I have plenty to use. Each time I give my friends a loaf of bread, they always notice the bread bag. LOL It's just a plain plastic bag, but it is the right size for a real loaf of bread. It is amazing how many things we use those bags for, but it will take a lot of projects to use all of those bag ties.

My favorite onion is Candy and it seems to keep as well as any of the others for me. I like to have a few purple onions to use in Habanero Gold Jam, but I don't like them well enough to grow a lot of them. I ordered two intermediate sampler packs so I would have a few purples, but all of the rest of mine are Candy.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:26AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, On the day you were down here for the funeral, I kind of pictured you in my mind racing back home to get there before the ice storm arrived. I was relieved we had rain in the forecast because the day you were at the funeral we had multiple fires in our county. I am hoping the inch of rain we got will keep it quiet for a little while. I hope Al has a safe trip home whenever the roads are clear enough for him to drive back.

I have had my onions for 10 days and haven't planted them yet. Onions can freeze (not that they necessarily will) at 20 degrees and our forecast for last night and tonight was 24 degrees as of yesterday evening. At our house we only went down to 25 degrees this morning but Burneyville went down to 23. I might plant onions tomorrow if there's no temps lower than 25 in our 7-day forecast. Since our overnight low tends to go lower than forecast fairly often, I always try to err on the side of safety when planting onions. Last year it was really warm here so I planted early. This year the nights have been much colder so I am planting late.

For anybody wondering, you normally can hold fresh, Dixondale onions for 3 weeks before planting. Because they are pulled and bundled immediately before being shipped to you, they are really fresh and green and tolerate 3 weeks out of the ground before planting just fine.

Pam, I use the mesh tubes that Carol calls onion socks. I just call them mesh onion tubes. Before I started using the mesh tubes I did use old stockings, tying a knot between each onion. With the mesh tubes, I use a twist tie or a zip tie (whatever I have handy) instead of tying a knot. That way I can reuse the mesh tubes. You also can get more onions in a tube if you aren't using up some of the tube to tie a knot in the tube itself.

I know people, like Chandra, who put more than one onion in the tube before tying it off. I also know people who store their onions in mesh bags or in burlap potato sacks.

In a dry year, all the methods seem to work equally well as long as the onions were well-cured before being stored. In a really, really wet year like 2007 (hard to describe how wet it was, but I remember we had a foot of rain in June alone....which is really close to onion harvest time in my part of the state), the mesh tubes worked the best. All the onions grown here that year were huge and had the highest water content I've ever seen in onions. It was essential that year to tie off the tube in between each and every onion because in any place where two onions were allowed to touch each other, rot set in. I cured mine twice as long as usual before moving them to storage.

I ordered 7 bundles of onions this year because I wanted to try the two new short day varieties. It has been a few years since I planted 7 bundles in one year. The last time I grew that many, I froze a lot of the excess ones for cooking that I felt were likely to go bad before we could eat them all. Those frozen onions lasted us 3 years. The fresh ones, harvested in June or July, lasted us until February or March, which is really good considering how wet they were at harvest. I use a ton of onions in cooking and canning. My favorite is Candy too, but I like Texas 1015Y just about as well, and I always grow one full bundle of red onions for Habanero Gold jelly-making.

Most of the puddles from the Wed-Thurs rain have begun to disappear as the moisture soaks into the ground, but my garden still is a lake. If I plant onions in the next couple of days, I'm going to be planting in the mud.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Yeah, I typically think a bit out of the box. My wife and I are both that way. Some people seem to feel more comfortable in the box. I tend to want to get out of the box, turn it up side down, shake it, stand on top of it, and then do my thinking from there. You can see a bit farther when you stand on top of the box, and it's a bit more fun.

I have a science background, so writing along those lines comes natural. I thought about pulling in additional actual terminology and processes from doing a bit of searching on the web concerning the topic. But I've done that before in a bit of humor and had people believe that what I was writing was true. I don't mind pulling someones leg a little bit, but they tend to get cranky if you yank on it too hard.

Storage of onions:
I put my onions in clean cloths baskets, on shelves in the house. The baskets need to have lots of holes so there is sufficient air circulation. Every couple of weeks go through the basket of onions and pull any that are sprouting or beginning to go bad. It's not a bad idea to shift them from one basket into another during this process. This will put the ones on the bottom of the basket onto the top in the new basket. Keeping them in the house will help maintain an even temperature, and they will last longer.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:18AM
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It got down to 26 degrees here. But, it was only for an hour or two. At 4:30 it was 28 degrees. Then it dropped two degrees right before daylight. I think my onions will survive, but we'll just have to wait and see.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Having read all this; and having onion sets available; I think I shall go plant some onions
And leave Scotts leg alone ---------

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:38AM
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Dawn, I make HG Jam for my family and maybe a friend or two. If I had to include the volunteer fire department, half the Dallas/Ft Worth airport, and everyone else you know, I would probably need to plant a couple of bunches of red onions too. LOL I'm not that generous.

I do like the way the red ones look in the jam, but I don't like them as well for regular use. I always have to peel back more layers of the red ones than I do Candy when I am using them. The year that I froze so many onions, I chopped them into a large white Tupperware bowl before I put them in bags and that bowl had deep purple stains in it. It took some effort to get it white again.

Tonight our temps are supposed to go to 19 or 20 depending on which weather station I look at. Temp-wise I could probably plant as early as tomorrow, but the Mesonet says my 4 inch plant available water is l.30 so that's a bit wet to play in the soil. I have one raised bed that I am going to use for onions, but the rest will be in-ground beds. The bed may be dry enough to plant in a few days if we don't get more rain, but the ground is very wet. My onions arrived on Wednesday, bright green and fresh.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Scott, Well then, unless you had water standing in your garden, i doubt the onions were affected at all. We went down to 25 here and I was thinking that I might plant my onions today, but now the raised beds where I'm going to put them are pretty soggy so I'll likely wait until Saturday or Sunday to plant them. We're supposed to be in the mid-20s tonight but once tonight passes, my forecast looks great for onion planting.

The issue I always have with the cold nights is that, upon rare occasions, our overnight low temp has dropped as much as 18 degrees lower than the NWS point forecast for us. That certainly gets my attention when it happens. Had that never happened, I'd be planting like mad this week. However, since has happened in the past and likely could happen again, I am more cautious about planting early or even on time than I used to be. There were some years early in the 2000s when I bought onion plants in Fort Worth on New Year's Day and came right home and planted them. That was when we were having some pretty warm winters though that hardly felt like winter at all.

I think next week's weather looks pretty good, so likely I'll be out transplanting cool-season crops and sowing cool-season seeds early next week. However, I still don't feel that good early warm-up vibe I was getting at this time last year. I don't think the cold weather is done with us by any means yet., so I'll be watching the weather ever-so-closely.

Last year, i was so sure of an early warm-up that would last that I put my four early tomato plants, which by then were flowering and setting fruit, into a 200-gallon galvanized stock tank on February 23. Usually I put them in big containers so I can drag them into the garage on cold nights. Last year, I got away with putting them in a non-movable container. This year I am not yet ready to risk it. All five of my early tomato plants have flowers and some have fruit and I don't want to risk losing the early fruit to a cold night when the best I can do is cover up the plants and hope for the best.

Ponderpaul, My air temperature currently is 40 degrees so even if the ground was drier, I wouldn't be out there planting on such a cool day. I am a cold weather wimp. I need a 50-degree day in order to plant. Otherwise I will be whining that it is too cold (for me, not the plants) out there.

Carol. Your 4" available water is a lot higher than ours. I think when I looked at it this morning it was just over a half-inch. My raised beds aren't too bad today, but the pathways between then are little canals of water. By tomorrow I should be able to put on my gardening boots and walk in those pathways though, especially with the lovely sunshine we have today. Most of the puddles in the yard have soaked into the ground now, but the driveway is still full of huge puddles.. Your 4" available water is perfect for growing in warm weather...not so great for planting root crops in cold weather. It seems like once your soil gets wet it takes it so long to get dry again....if it ever does.

That's a really cold night y'all will be having tonight. Do you have more rain in your forecast? We are not supposed to have any rain here for at least a week, so I think I'll get a lot of planting done beginning about Sunday or Monday. (And if my forecast has changed for the worse, i don't want to know......)


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Hi Carol: I've been watching the weather in MO and OK - looked like you have been cold with lots of snow and ice. Although my source was TWC, and they seem to dramatize normal weather events. I'm glad you got home ahead of the bad weather. It's no fun driving when it's snowing, especially at night.

I like how you use the onion socks - I thought tying knots would be a little tricky when you put the onions in the sock, and if you had to untie when you need a few. I like the twist tie idea. I tend to over-order when I find stuff online. I still have about 200' of floating row cover ... Dawn mentioned patching row cover with white duct tape (I didn't know anyone made white duct tape) so I was happy when I found white duct tape at the Dollar store. Since I patch and re-use row cover, that 200' will last a long time.

I'll send an email to Dixondale, see if they will add 10-12 onion socks to my order.

Dawn, I hope you aren't planting onions in wet muddy soil in freezing weather! As you say, the onions will keep for another week or more. I hope you can wait until your garden dries out more.

I'm trying to get the beds ready for onions and potatoes when we get a break from rain. We are running at least 10-12 degrees colder than normal for Feb - and most days are very windy. I can put on lots of layers but the wind makes it very hard to stay warm. When I come inside after 2-3 hrs, it takes forever to warm up.

You mentioned onions being "well-cured." Do you have a rule of thumb about curing? A few days ago, I searched GW for info about curing, read threads on the Allium forum. One person put onions in the shade on his patio for a week, another person stored them in flats in his greenhouse for 6-7 weeks. Big variations in how people cured and stored. The gist seems to be that onions need to be dry before you store them, so the curing time will vary, depending on your conditions, especially heat and humidity.

Scott, on out-of-the -box humor: I wondered about the science background when you included the genus of cotton tail rabbits - Sylvilagus (thanks Wikipedia)!

When DH is spinning a tall tale, people tend to believe him - I think because he includes just enough true things. If I'm around, they look at me with a quizzical look. I probably do an eye roll, so they turn to me and ask, "Did that really happen?" or "Is that true?" I suggest that when he tells them something that sounds too weird to be true, to trust their instincts because it isn't true. He loves to spin tales and most people believe him - until he goes too far.

Paul - did you get your onions planted??


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Dawn, if they've changed your forecast to look like mine, I wouldn't look at it. I was looking forward to working outside this weekend. Highs in the 50's and sunny. Now they're saying it's going to snow again tonight and tomorrow. That is not okay.

I can already tell planting time is going to be crazy for me. I'm not going to be ready and since planting late isn't an option, I'm going to have to work my butt off to get it all done in a hurry. I guess this should teach me to do these things in fall instead of winter. I just don't have the motivation to do it in the fall.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:18PM
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