Grow Georgia Sweet Onions!

Onions are a wonder in the Georgia garden.  They are cool-season crops that require very little work.  Ever wanted to try growing them?  Now is your chance as Willie Chance gives us valuable instruction.  Willie says….

The Cherokee rose is the state flower and the brown thrasher is the state bird. What is the state vegetable? The Vidalia onion!

Actually, most gardeners cannot grow onions and officially call them ‘Vidalia onions’. Production of certified Vidalia onions is limited by a marketing order to a specific area in south-central Georgia. However, gardeners can grow sweet onions by following certain practices.

Onions have two major flavors. Sugars make them sweet but pungent chemicals make the onions ‘hot’. A sweet onion has enough sugar to make it sweet but more importantly – it has a low level of the pungent compounds. The most important factor in making onions ‘sweet’ is having low levels of these pungent compounds. Levels of these compounds in the onion are controlled by proper variety selection, fertilization, watering, and time of planting.

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Garden Chores for September – October in Georgia

The change of seasons doesn’t mean that gardening chores stop.  It just means they change a bit.

What Should We Do in the Garden?

According to the Georgia Vegetable Garden Calendar for this time of the year we need to:

Garden chores in september and octoberChoose the mild weather during this period to plant or transplant:  beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips.  Plant your second planting of fall crops such as collards, turnips, cabbage, mustard, and kale.

Refurbish mulch to control weeds, and start adding leaves and other materials to the compost pile.  Store your manure under cover to prevent leaching of nutrients.

Water deeply and thoroughly to prevent drought stress. Pay special attention to new transplants.

Harvest mature green peppers and tomatoes before frost gets them.

Harvest herbs and dry them in a cool, dry place.

And, most importantly, enjoy the cooler weather and enjoy your garden.

Happy Gardening!

Cardboard Boat Race 2015 for the United Way

UGA Griffin Boat Crew
UGA Griffin Boat Crew

Dawgs Boat Crew,Way to Go!

Congratulations to the UGA Griffin United Way Cardboard Boat Crew! The UGA Griffin Crew placed 2nd after the City of Griffin Fire Department.

In the final race, the City of Griffin Fire finished with a time of 1:10 and the Dawgs had a time of 1:10.5. Congratulations to the City of Griffin Fire Department! The Dawgs Crew featured:

  • Allie Futral
  • Bo Cavender
  • Jim Quick
  • Ben Fields
  • Ryan Hodgson
  • Ken Manley
  • Joe Hortz

Pictured above with the Dawgs Crew is Sara Jones, John Hamilton, and Dr. Randall Peters from Griffin-Spalding United Way.

Using Peat Pellets for Seed Starting

There are many ways to start seeds for transplants.  Using peat pellets is a popular way and has some advantages.  The peat has a naturally occurring antimicrobial property that helps control fungal diseases.  The peat pellets are also easy to handle which helps with transplanting.

The peat pellets are easy to handle.
The peat pellets are easy to handle.

To get the pellets ready for planting you need to add water.  Warm water is best.  Package directions will tell you how much water to add.  You want the pellets fully expanded, but you do not want them any wetter.  You don’t want water sitting in the bottom of the tray.  Too little water is better than too much.

You can see the pellets hold alot of water.
You can see the pellets expand considerably.

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Interview with Gerald Arkin, retired Assistant Dean of UGA Griffin


Dr. Gerald Arkin is a respected scientist in the fields of agroecosystems modeling and agricultural meteorology, Dr. Gerald Arkin became assistant dean of the University of Georgia Griffin Campus in June of 1987. He came to the campus from the Blackland Research Center in Temple, Texas where he had served as resident director for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station since December of 1983. Prior to this, Dr. Arkin served as a research agricultural engineer at the Blackland Center. He earned his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University, his M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from The University of Georgia and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Illinois. Throughout his career as an agricultural scientist, Dr. Arkin has authored or co-authored numerous scientific publications. He fostered the creation of many management-oriented crop simulation models that are used worldwide.

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Interview with Ann Autry, retired from the Department of Food Science


Ann Autry was secretary to the director of the Department of Food Science and worked at the Griffin Experiment Station for 52 years. Of particular interest is her commentary on how life and working conditions changed over a period of two generations, and what she considers to be the most important developments in the history of the campus. Some of these views were unexpected after talking with a number of faculty members and other administrative assistants off the record. By comparing different perspectives through oral interviews, it is hoped that one can acquire a much richer and more inclusive view of the history and life of the campus.

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September is Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month.  A 2014 Hunger in America study showed that 1 in 7.5 people in metro Atlanta and northern Georgia relies on food pantries and meal service programs.  This includes over 164,000 children and 64,000 seniors.

As gardeners we may be in a unique position to donate fresh food to a local food pantry.  Most food pantries are stocked with canned and dry goods.  Fresh food for their clients could be life changing.

Is your community or school garden donating to a food pantry?  Some gardens have specific areas dedicated to donation.  The entire group is responsible for working those areas and someone is assigned to harvest and deliver the produce.

Some gardens were formed with the purpose of growing food for others.

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