While most Georgians are hustling to finish last-minute shopping for the holidays, Vidalia onion farmers are planting the last of their fields and checking them twice.
"Right now, most everything looks good," said Reid
Tattnall County Extension Service director. "The majority
of growers will be through planting before Christmas, which is
a little ahead of schedule."
Except for some damaging, warmer-than-normal weather in
the tiny onion plants are well on their way to a fruitful
They just have to get through winter first.
New Year, Less
Because prices have been so low recently, Vidalia onion growers
are planting less of the crop in hopes of improving market
So there won't be as many onions on the market next year,
Georgia growers usually plant about 15,000 acres of the crop.
Tattnall County farmers grow about half of those. This year,
said, he expects farmers to plant about 1,000 fewer acres than
"The growers would like to see a reduction in acres,"
Torrance said. "These guys need a good year to put some
in their pockets. Farmers have barely broken even on prices over
the past few years."
In an average season, fresh-market prices usually start high,
then drop as the harvest continues. Over the past few seasons,
however, Georgia farmers have produced an abundance of
This oversupply has lowered the price farmers get, said George
Boyhan, a horticulturist with the University of Georgia College
and Environmental Sciences. Barring any adverse weather, though,
there should still be plenty of onions for shoppers next
The onions don't mind some hard winter weather. But high winds
and extreme temperature swings can damage the crop.
Onions take the hardest hit when temperatures drop into the low
teens after a spell of warm, sunny days. The onion is 90 percent
water. Low temperatures can cause the water in the tender onion
cells to freeze and rupture.
The Vidalia onion crop hasn't minded the extended drought that
has gripped the state, either. In fact, the onions like it
"The drought doesn't much affect the onion," Boyhan
said. "Dry conditions keep disease pressure down." Vidalia
are planted under irrigation.
Sweet Treat Available
Shoppers don't have to wait until spring to enjoy fresh Vidalia
onions, though. Small Vidalias, sold as salad onions, are in
The junior-sized onions are planted in early August. They are
then harvested until December, before they become mature. The
onions are good in stir fries and salads.
"You can grow a lot of salad onions on a small number of
acres," Torrance said. "It's a nice niche market for
Mature Vidalia onions are harvested in mid-spring, mostly in
Controlled-atmosphere storage allows growers to extend the time
they can market the crop. But even the stored onions don't last
far past September, Boyhan said.
Published on 12/12/00
Sweet Crop Gets Ready for Winter
Poultry Science Building to give researchers, students a high-tech new roost 12/01/22 Maria M. Lameiras
In 1958, a carpenter named LC Powers built himself and his wife, Ruby Nell, a broiler house on their family’s land in northeast Georgia. The chicken house could hold 10,000 chicks, but there was barely enough electricity to power a few light bulbs in the open-sided building. The Powers’ great-granddaughter, Kylie Bruce, recounted her great-grandparents’ story at the groundbreaking for a new, technologically advanced Poultry Science Building.
UGA Extension specialist, agents honored with industry 40 under 40 awards 11/30/22 Amanda Budd
Four experts at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension have been recognized as members of the Fruit and Vegetable 40 under 40 Class of 2022. The list honors 40 early-career agricultural professionals for exemplary accomplishments, representing “the best in the industry.”
Great Pollinator Census expands to include neighboring states 11/29/22 Becky Griffin
Widening interest in efforts to support pollinators has led to a name change for the Great Georgia Pollinator Census, which will become the Great Southeast Pollinator Census on Dec. 1. The census began as a statewide community science initiative in Georgia in August 2019, created and coordinated by Becky Griffin, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension community and school garden coordinator.
4-H Tech Changemakers help adults develop digital literacy skills 11/28/22 Josie Smith
Youth involved with the Georgia 4-H Tech Changemakers program are bridging the digital divide and providing digital literacy education to improve workforce readiness skills in adults. The 2021-22 cohort surpassed previous record impact numbers by reaching 5,488 adults during the program year, working cooperatively to plan, implement and evaluate needs-driven educational programming in their local communities.
Rethinking your yard? Plant more flowers 11/25/22 Alicia Holloway
Gardening is often described as an art and a science. And while this suggests a degree of nuance to gardening, it is also quite true. Landscape design principles used to create an aesthetic garden space include color, form and balance, among others.
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens holiday lights exhibit returns Nov. 25 11/24/22 Amanda Budd
The Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm, operated by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, will soon be spreading holiday cheer with their December Nights and Holiday Lights event in Savannah. On select days from Nov. 25 to Dec. 24, visitors can view nearly 5 acres of the gardens lit up for the holidays.