When it comes to vegetable gardening it seems like most folks I have met fall into one of three categories. The first group is made up of heirloom seed growers. They have a Mason jar full of seed that has been passed down in their family for generations and they are not about to grow anything else. Then there are the “tried and true” gardeners who only grow the same common varieties that everyone else grows. The third group is made up of folks that love to try strange and unusual new plants in the garden. Which one of these groups has the best philosophy? Well I like all of them. After all, NASCAR wouldn’t be much fun if everyone drove a Chevy and ice cream wouldn’t be as much fun if you could only get vanilla! Regardless of which flavor of gardening you like, one thing is true. It’s time to get out those seed catalogs and get those orders in the mail.
I look forward to getting seed catalogs in the mail with the enthusiasm of a kid waiting on the arrival of the “Wish Book” before Christmas. I found that looking at the brightly colored photos of freshly harvested vegetables instantly transported me away from a North Georgia winter with visions of a bountiful summer harvest, but those visions will be wasted if I don’t get on the ball and order my seeds on time!
If you are a grower of heirloom seeds, you no longer have to limit yourself to the few varieties you have on hand. Many of the larger garden catalogs these days have sections devoted to heirloom seeds. You can find ‘Moon and Stars’ watermelon and ‘Mortgage Lifter’ tomato seeds along with many other old time favorites. There are also specialty catalogs available from The Seed Savers Exchange and others.
If you are devoted to tried and true varieties, seed catalogs can be helpful to you as well. Most seed catalogs contain far more varieties than your local garden center. They are helpful if you are trying to locate a favorite no longer carried locally. If you are deciding between varieties, a good seed catalog is an excellent reference source. Most catalogs give information on the days to maturity, disease resistance, and characteristics of the various vegetable varieties. If you find a variety you like in the catalog, you can always contact your local garden center and request that they start carrying it.
That’s why trying something new and different can be so much fun. It may be as simple as experimenting with a new hybrid variety that you’ve never grown and a lot of folks enjoy growing a garden novelty now and then. Many of the larger seed catalogs today carry oddities like huge sword beans and white snowball tomatoes. You can find seeds for all kinds of fun and unusual new vegetable varieties in a garden catalog. So this season you might go with the old standby or venture out and also try something new!
But before you get lost in a seed catalog, there are a few suggestions that I want to make. First, don’t forget to consider only those varieties that will grow in your USDA hardiness zone. Second, be sure to consider the disease resistance and days to maturity of varieties you are selecting. And third, be realistic about the quantity of seed you order. There might not be a need to buy enough seed to plant the entire garden in some new experimental variety. Finally, have fun. No matter which type of gardener you are, spring planting season will be here before you know it and now is the time to get ready!
The Union County Extension Office is hosting a commercial vegetable meeting in Blairsville at the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center on Wednesday February 28th. The meeting starts at 5 PM and if you plan to attend you must contact the Union County Office by September 26th. Please feel free to contact me if you need more information.
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The Burnt Mountain Classic took place on Friday night and Saturday at Pickens Co. High School. The Classic comes with high expectations by the teams attending – and although inclement weather forced school cancellations throughout the week – the tournament still lived up to the bill.
Although the weather was rough all week, 15 of 19 Varsity teams that were scheduled came off the buses ready to strap on their head gear and hit the mat. Fannin County was one of 22 varsity teams scheduled to attend but like a handful of the teams who cancelled, they followed the school cancellation schedule due to potential hazardous road conditions.
The acclaimed Gilmer Bobcats varsity squad, who have been living up to their legacy of absolute domination all season long, was originally scheduled to attend as well. After speaking with head coach Josh Ghobadpor about his decision to give his varsity the weekend off, he stated that with the weather being what it was during the week, they hadn’t been able to practice. Rather than put his varsity in a high-pressure situation so close to area and sectionals, Ghobadpor focused instead on taking his junior varsity team to compete in the JV Scramble.
“We tried to get to the gym to train but with ice on the roads we didn’t want to take any chances. This weekend we decided to bring our JV and let them get the extra work in, though. After all the JV is the future of Bobcat wrestling,” Ghobadpor told TeamFYNSports.
As the wrestlers laced up and shook hands, match-by-match the competition began to heat up right away. Pickens, Lumpkin, Creekview, Etowah, Cherokee High, Calhoun, Alcoa, Milton, Sequoyah, Chestatee, Towns, SE Whitfield, Walker, West Hall and River Ridge all came in pursuit of conquest.
With each win or loss, the cream began to rise to the top. While all in attendance had much to be proud of, two standout teams battled for the heralded prize of tournament champions. As the dust (and sweat) settled, congratulations went to the Creekview High School Grizzlies for capturing the crown in the team scoring with 219 points. Narrowly taking the runner up award in the team points was the host: the Pickens County High School Dragons.
On Saturday, the action heated up with the JV Scramble. The young freshmen and sophomore athletes showed up and showed out on the mats with Calhoun Yellow Jackets taking the JV trophy. Individual award winners from Pickens County included: Zach Meadows(113 lbs) 2nd Place, C.J. Murphy(120 lbs) 2nd Place, Joseph Ferguson(152 lbs) 2nd Place Michael Burrell(160 lbs) 1st Place, Tyler Vreeland(170 lbs), Kellie Dover(182 lbs) 3rd Place and Dalton Bruhner(195 lbs) 4th Place.
Other results were not available at the event. Congratulations to all athletes and best of luck in Area Competition and State!