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By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Lately there’s been a lot of conversation about using the moon signs to garden. While I’ve not personally
researched this practice, I decided to look into it because I’ve had phone calls and heard people talking
about it. I learned that the Farmers’ Almanac is one of the original publications that discussed moon sign
gardening so the information here is from that publication plus an article by Catherine Boeckmann.
The foundation for using moon signs is observation. It is NOT astrology or astrological “best days.” The
basic idea behind Planting by the Moon is that cycles of the moon affect plant growth. Moon phase
gardening takes into account two periods of the lunar cycle: the time between the new moon and the full
moon (the waxing of the moon), and the time between the full moon and the new moon (the waning of
Just as the moon’s gravitational pull causes tides to rise and fall, it also affects moisture in the soil. The
theory is that seeds will absorb more water during the full moon and the new moon, when more moisture
is pulled to the soil surface, causing the seeds to swell and resulting in greater germination and better-
established plants. The moon also affects plant growth through geotropism which is how plants grow in
response to gravity. Roots grow downward in the direction of the gravitational pull and stems grow in the
opposite direction (i.e., upwards.) Now that we have that information, let’s look at how to plant by the
Plant annual flowers and fruit and vegetables that bear crops above ground (such as corn, tomatoes,
watermelon, and zucchini) during the waxing of the moon (from the day the moon is new to the day it is
full.) As the moonlight increases night by night, plants are encouraged to grow leaves and stems.
Plant flowering bulbs, biennial and perennial flowers, and vegetables that bear crops below ground (such
as onions, carrots, and potatoes) during the waning of the Moon (from the day after it is full to the day
before it is new again.) As the moonlight decreases night by night, plants are encouraged to grow roots,
tubers, and bulbs.
Where dates for planting by the moon are concerned, see the almanac Planting Calendar for dates based
on average last frost dates and moon phase. Be sure and get the right edition of the almanac because it is
customized to your local U.S. zip code or Canadian postal code.
The almanac also provides favorable dates for sowing seeds or transplanting in the ground for all popular
vegetables and edibles. You could also calculate planting dates yourself by looking at the Moon Phase
Calendar and the following the guidelines above.
If you have any questions about Planting by the Moon, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA
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Pesticide License Recertification Credits Offered
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
The Gilmer County UGA Extension office is sponsoring the North Georgia Apple Production Meeting in Ellijay for the 2019 growing season. It will be held on Thursday, February 14th in the Community Room of the United Community Bank, 558 Industrial Boulevard, in Ellijay from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.
The meeting will feature three specialists from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension along with two specialists from North Carolina State University. The topics that will be discussed are insect and weed control, crop thinning, disease management, and food safety.
In addition to the educational meetings, two hours of private and five hours of category 21 commercial pesticide license recertification credits will be given to those that attend. This meeting is open to the public and the recertification credits will be issued to people that already have a pesticide license. There is no cost to attend and pre-registration is not required for the apple production meeting.
The Gilmer County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) have partnered with the Gilmer County Library to conduct a series of programs at no charge, once a month, on Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00 pm for four months. They are: Sustainable Gardening February 7th, Nuisance Plants and Invasive Species March 7th, Grow Veggies Anywhere April 4th and Ornamental Grasses May 2nd. For more information, contact the library at 706-635-4528 or visit the Gilmer County MGEVs website at https://gcmgvolunteers.wordpress.com/.
The Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center is holding a Water Resource Management & Irrigation Seminar on Friday, February 22nd from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Blairsville. Lunch is provided but pre-registration by February 15th is required so call the center today at 706 745-2655 to reserve a seat.
The Cherokee County UGA Extension office is offering three horticulture workshops, one a month, beginning Friday, February 22nd with a Fruit Tree Field Day, then a Green Industry Update on Friday, March 1st and finally an Apple Grafting Workshop on Thursday, April 4th. Times and fees vary and pre-registration is required so stop by their office at 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Suite G49, in Canton or call them at 770-721-7803 to pre-register, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Union County UGA Extension office will host two meetings next month at the Union County Schools Agriscience Center on Highway 129 South in Blairsville. The first one is a Commercial Corn Production Meeting on Friday, March 15th from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and the second one is a Commercial Vegetable Production Meeting on Monday, March 18th from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Pesticide license recertification credits will be offered at both of these meeting at the rate of one hour of private and two hours of category 21 commercial. Pre-registration is required for both of these meetings so call at 706-439-6030 to pre-register, or email Jacob Williams at email@example.com for more information.
If you have any questions about any of these meetings or recertification credits or the status of your pesticide license, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
Shine Like the Stars in the Universe
There is one night a year when stars above look down in awe. Friday, February 8, 2019, was that special night.
Excitement filled the air as paparazzi and crowds gathered for the red carpet event hosted by First United Methodist Church of Union County (FUMC) in Blairsville. Honored guests from Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee County, SC, would soon arrive.
On this “Night to Shine”, 108 Kings and Queens in their finest attire were escorted through the cheering crowd by students from Young Harris College, volunteers from FUMC, and from the community. Just the beginning of a very special evening for memories to last a lifetime.
The royal guests were delighted to be pampered by hairdressers or to have their shoes shined before heading off on a thrilling ride in a stretch limousine. Then it was time for dancing, what many attendees had been looking forward to and so they danced the night away.
As the evening came to a close each King and Queen received a gift bag along with a t-shirt commemorating the event.
Former NFL quarterback, Heisman winner, and current New York Mets outfielder, Tim Tebows’ Night to Shine is now in its 5th year. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation website, this special night’s history began in 2014 with a simple vision, “work with churches around the country to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.”
In 2015, the first Night to Shine was held with help from 15,000 volunteers among 44 participating churches in 26 states and 3 countries to make 7,000 honored guests feel like royalty. In 2019 the event now has over 600 churches from around the world to make a memorable event for an estimated 100,000 Kings and Queens with the help of 200,000 volunteers!
This is the second year First United Methodist Church of Union County hosted the event.
Information about sponsoring a 2020 attendee, volunteering or the mission of Tim Tebow foundation can be found online: www.timtebowfoundation.org
Churches wishing to join in the “worldwide movement celebrating God’s love for people with special needs and the value of life” can find more information about hosting, fundraising and financial grants on the website.
Giggles, laughter and smiling faces beaming with pure joy were, without question no match for the heavenly stars on this “Night to Shine”.
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What is your favorite love song?
FYN’s Valentine’s Day Giveaway!
FYN & local businesses have put together a basket to make your Valentine’s Day Special.
Thank you to:
Ellijay’s Hometown Florist- $50 Gift Card & Valentine’s Vase
River Street Tavern- $25 Gift Card
Tea Tree’s Boutique Spa- Aroma Therapy Massage
GTC Mountain Cinemas- 2 Movie Tickets
Carrington Coffee-.$20 Gift Card
1. Leave a reply the Facebook post CLICK HERE and answer “What is your favorite love song?”
2. LIKE, SHARE & FOLLOW Facebook.com/Fetch.YourNews
Entries must be in by 2/11/19
The winner will be announced by BKP on GMFTO
On Wed 2/13/19 @ 8:30AM
For Immediate Release
January 28, 2019
Public Health District and County Health Departments Closed on Tuesday, January 29th
Due to predicted winter weather conditions, North Georgia Health District 1-2, based in Dalton, and Health Departments and public health services in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties will be CLOSED on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. All further updates will be provided and posted to our website at www.nghd.org and on our social media sites at facebook.com/NGaHealth, twitter.com/NGAHealthDist,instagram.com/northgahealth.
Weather Summary for 2018
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Back in December and already this year there’s been a lot of talk about how wet it’s been in the last year and while I agree with the comments I’ve been getting, I thought I’d do a little investigating and use facts to report on the weather of 2018. My data is coming from the UGA AEMN area weather stations.
The Automated Environmental Monitoring Network (AEMN) in Georgia was established in 1991 by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The objective of the AEMN is to collect reliable weather information for agricultural and environmental applications. Each station monitors air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction, soil temperature at 2, 4, and 8 inch depths, atmospheric pressure, and soil moisture every 1 second. Data are summarized at 15 minute intervals and at midnight a daily summary is calculated. A microcomputer at the Georgia Experiment Station initiates telephone calls to each station periodically and downloads the recorded data. The data are processed immediately and disseminated via the internet at www.weather.uga.edu.
We are fortunate to have three reporting stations in our area. They are Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay, Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center in Blairsville. For the purpose of this article, data has been averaged, but you can visit the web site and get more details and up to the minute weather.
Since rain has been the topic of conversation lately, let’s look at that first. In Blairsville, the total rainfall for 2018 was 76.01 inches and there were 164 rainy days. In Blue Ridge, the rainfall was 74.89 inches and 185 rainy days. In Ellijay there was 79.12 inches of rain and 168 rainy days. The average for our area is around 62 inches, but the statistic that stands out is the number of rainy days. During rainy days the plants did not receive good sunlight and that affects plant growth.
In looking at the month of December in 2018 Blairsville received 10.96 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. Blue Ridge received 11.21 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. Ellijay received 10.92 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. This may seem like a lot of rain, but back in 2015 Blairsville got 13.35 inches of rain with 13 rainy days. Blue Ridge got 16.57 inches of rain with 16 rainy days. Ellijay got 16.04 inches of rain with 17 rainy days. 2015 was not that long ago, but it seems we have gotten more rain lately. It might be the number of rainy days that is making us think we are getting more rain that we actually are getting.
As for temperatures the average maximum temperature in Blairsville was 68.53 and the minimum was 47.26. The overall average was 57.23 which is about normal, but the number of days below 32 was 761 which is up from before, but below 2015. In Blue Ridge the average maximum temperature was 68.12 and the minimum was 48.46 and the overall average was 57.59, which is also about normal. The number of days below 32 was 699 which is up from before, but also below 2015. In Ellijay the average maximum temperature was 69.17 and the minimum was 48.81 with an overall average of 58.48 which is about normal. The number of days below 32 was 625 which is above earlier years except for 2015.
In conclusion the UGA weather stations are a great resource for information that provide facts about our weather conditions and now when people ask if it’s ever been this wet, you have the facts to say yes. If you need more information or different facts, visit the website and explore, or contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
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North Georgia – According to a recent article by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), a senate committee has recommended longer summers for Georgia Students.
Instead of quoting test scores, educators, or studies about student learning, the committee suggested a school year starting the first Monday of September, and ending around June 1.
The basis for this suggestion? Economic analysis.
According to the AJC’s article, the committee was devoid of teachers, school leaders, or PTA representatives. Their suggestion bypassed academics and said that the longer summer, roughly three months, would help tourism grow and increase summer workforce.
Taking a local response from Gilmer County Charter Schools System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs and Fannin County School System Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, the consensus seems to be that these systems are appalled at the thought of economic interests waylaying the education system in favor on money.
Dr. Downs told FYN that shortening the year would not only decrease the breaks that the local school system has in place for students, but would make testing in the first semester almost impossible. She noted an immense testing impact if students were to go through first semester and Christmas, only to then come back in January for end of course testing.
A sentiment that was separately echoed by Dr. Gwatney who also noted how much work these school systems put into their calendars, over 6 months of effort and staff input are taken by each of these two school systems before a final handful of calendars are presented for community input in the Board of Education. Finally, the Board approves a final Calendar in the spring for the coming school year.
Additionally, Dr. Gwatney pointed out how far the effect of these calendars reach as he also brought in fellow administrators to speak on the issue.
Fannin County Schools Deputy Superintendent Betsy Hyde(heading up the District’s Charter), Fannin County Nutrition Director Candace Sisson (also the Calendar Committee Coordinator), and Fannin County Assistant Superintendent Robert Ensley (Administration and Personnel) all agreed that stepping into the local schools in such a way without any representation from schools on the committee was not the way the state should be looking at the issue. From the time spent working on the calendar to allowing each individual county to cater to their student’s and county’s needs, these representatives of Fannin County exerted the necessity of individualized calendars.
Downs also noted this importance in Gilmer County as she noted that each school presents its own calendar that is put together by teachers and administrators and then put out for citizen input. Noting the influence of educators of the process, Downs said she was against the thought of a committee placing importance of economy over education.
While both these counties gain a lot from the tourism industry, they annually balance their own festivals, events, and economies against the education calendar. Local people provide local input from local expertise as they continually deal with this problem.
Though the recommendation is non-binding, it leaves citizens asking the question of how much control the state should have and exert over local governments. Though not directly related, they still recall the Governors “Opportunity School Districts” campaign in recent years. A campaign shot down at the polls. If moved forward and put in place, regulations on the school year may shift discussions from the economic benefit to the state as a whole and focus solely on the overreach of State Government into local communities.
According to the AJC, the committee includes chair and state Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism for the Department of Economic Development Kevin Langston, Georgia Chamber of Commerce designee Michael Owens, Director of the Georgia Travel Association Kelsey Moore, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus Jay Markwalter, former state Director of Community Affairs Camila Knowles, State Board of Education member Scott Johnson and Grier Todd, chief operating officer at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.