Callooh! Callay! My first ever Dixondale Farms order of onion plants has arrived. Last October I put in my order for one of their Intermediate Day Sampler bunches for $12.35 (shipping included), to be sent when ready, and now they are ready. As far as onions are concerned I live in an intermediate day area, so I made sure to order intermediate day varieties. To the north is long day onion territory, and to the south the short day onions are grown. According to the Internet, one can fudge that a little depending on location, but since this is my first attempt at growing onions I thought I’d play it safe and stick to recommended varieties for my latitude.
TIP: Make sure to order the correct type (long day, intermediate day, or short day) of onions for your area.
Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a rubber banded bunch of onion plants, my invoice, and a thoughtfully bagged growing onion guide, the suitably enough named “Onion & Leek Planting Guide”. Right on the front cover are useful directions in red capital letters to:
- Remove plants from box immediately.
- Cut the rubber band and spread plants out for ventilation.
- Do not put in soil or water before planting.
As a novice onion grower, I appreciate the advice. Clear direction helps with confidence.
So I immediately removed the plants from the box, and the rubber band from around the plants (which is why the rubber band isn’t shown in the picture).
According to the Dixondale Farms website the ideal size for a starter plant is at about four leaves and about the same diameter as a pencil. I didn’t count the leaves, but most of the plants I received were smaller than a pencil, some by a fair amount. My feelings aren’t hurt at all about some of them being on the small side, because they more than make up for it by the quantity of plants I recieved. I’m only describing what I received in my box, not commenting on what anyone should expect. I don’t know anyone over there, so there is no reason to expect anything more than their usual customer care. I’m not sure if it is to make up for the smaller sized plants, or someone was just having a good day while packing up my order, but I appreciate the extra love in the box. There was even an “Intermediate” plant marker included.
Dixondale Farms claims that there will be at least 50 total plants in the variety bundle I ordered, so out of curiosity I counted the plants that I received. A reasonable expectation would be something like 16 or 17 of each of the three varieties, with the understanding that the proportions might be off, but some combination totaling 50 plants or so.
What I received was:
- 42 Candy (Yellow)
- 48 Red Candy Apple (Red)
- 53 Super Star (White)
Granted, some are on the pretty small side, but with 93 extra plants on an order of 50, I’m not complaining. Overall they are about the same size as the existing Stockton Red Onions I started from small plants last fall. These new onions look healthy and happy, and if they don’t do well I expect it to be from user error and not any fault of the starting plants.
The light in my backyard isn’t ideal, I have some odd shadows and such which limits which areas get full sun. One of these areas happens to be on a concrete slab, which makes it a candidate for container gardening.
The container I’ll be using is a 65 gallon root pouch with handles. For a potting mixture, I used (an approximately equal proportions) peat moss, perlite, and a combination of chicken bedding & steer manure compost.
I planted the onion starts barely deep enough to stand up, and about 3-4″ apart. My intention is to thin them by harvesting and eating some as they start to crowd each other.
Hopefully the onions do well, it will be interesting to see how they develop (fingers crossed).