What is Planting by the Moon


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
the moon.)

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
moon’s phases.

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
Extension office.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Organization

Make Valentine’s Day Flowers and Plants Last Longer

Community, Outdoors

Make Valentine’s Day Flowers and Plants Last Longer

By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

Valentine’s Day is almost here and if you are like me, you are frantically trying to decide what to give a loved one. But before you decide, please put some thought into your choice.

But first, did you know that the occasion actually started back during the Roman Empire? The poet Chaucer changed the perception with flowery poetry and turned it into one of the most popular days to give flowers. There is a lot of symbolism around the type, color, and number of flowers that are given, but rather than going into all that, I want to provide you with some ideas about the types of flowers to give and how flowers should be cared for.

Roses are the most popular flower given for Valentine’s Day, but did you realize that tulips are the second most popular? Don’t rule out giving a live plant (or even a potted flowering plant) that can be kept indoors and/or moved outside once the weather warms up. I like live plants because they can be enjoyed all year, not just on this special day, but an avid gardener might simply enjoy a gardening gift. Below are a few guidelines which will make live flowers last longer.

Water is vital. Keep the vase or floral foam soaked with water at all times. Add fresh water daily and use warm water as this speeds uptake. If the water turns cloudy, replace it immediately with fresh water. If possible, re-cut rose stems every day by removing one to two inches. Use a sharp knife and if at all possible, this cut should be made under water and at an angle as this allows the stem to draw in water instead of air.

Keep Valentine’s flowers cool. Warm temperatures shorten the life of the blooms. Avoid direct sunlight and heating vents. Did you know that warm air from ceiling fans will cause the flowers to fade, so avoid a down draft? Appliances like TV’s and computers also give off heat causing the flowers to dry out.

Use a floral trick for wilted or droopy flowers. If the flowers start to wilt, remove the stem from the arrangement and re-cut the stem. Next, submerge the entire flower in warm water. Leave it in the water for one to two hours. This treatment should perk the flowers up and extend its life for a couple of more days. This trick works well for cut roses.

Take special care of flowers wrapped in paper or a box. If you give loose stems of flowers, keep them cool as long as possible before delivering them to your loved one. If you receive loose stem flowers, fill a clean vase with water and add flower food from a florist. Follow packet instructions for mixing. Before placing the stems in the vase, remove all foliage that will be below the waterline because leaves in water promote bacterial growth which decreases the life of the flowers. Re-cutting the stems under water with a sharp knife is recommended before placing in the vase.

Potted plants and bulbs are also a popular gift. Like arrangements, keep potted flowering plants in a cool location and avoid heat drafts or dry air to make the color last longer. Most indoor plants will require even a little moisture so check the soil daily and add water if the soil is dry to the touch, but do not let the plants stand in water as this will harm the root system.

If you have any questions about caring for flowers and plants, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office. Happy Valentine’s Day!

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Organization

Hope Flowers Ross: Obituary


Hope Flowers Ross

July 27, 1980 – January 13, 2019

Hope Flowers Ross, age 38 of Mineral Bluff, passed away Sunday morning, January 13, 2019 at her home with her family by her side. Hope was born July 27, 1980 in Copperhill, TN to James Flowers and Patricia Snow Meredith. A graduate of Fannin County High School and North Georgia College and State University, Hope obtained a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. She worked as a probation officer for many years and also a teacher and director at Milestones Learning Center. Above all else, Hope loved being a mother, her children were her life. In her spare time she liked to watch NASCAR and she was a big GA Bulldogs fan.
She leaves behind six wonderful children, Kayleigh Paige Ross, Rilee James Flowers, Harley Grace Stanley, Brenly Paul Capuzzo, Prestle Judd Stanley, and AnJulie Grae Nichole Stanley, her parents, James Flowers and Patricia Meredith, brother, James Howard Flowers, Jr., two sisters, Melissa Cecile Flowers and Dana Nicole (Scott) Meaders, and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Henry-Cochran Funeral Home with Rev. Robert Flowers officiating. Interment will follow in Van Hook Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Zachary Robert Flowers, Joseph Kamolani Flowers, Kevin Douglas Wishart, Brian Keith Powers, Keith Stanley Reece, and Adam Lee Powers. Honorary pallbearers are Nathan Powers and Austin Craig Teens.
The family will receive friends at the Henry-Cochran Funeral Home on Monday, January 14, 2019 and Tuesday, January 15, 2019 from 4-9 pm. Donations can be made to the funeral home to help offset funeral expenses.
Arrangements entrusted to the Henry-Cochran Funeral Home of Blue Ridge, GA. You may send condolences to the family and sign the guest register at www.cochranfuneralhomes.com.

Three Fannin Wrestlers headed to state tournament

FCHS Wrestling

Since taking the reigns of the wrestling program at Fannin County High School, head coach David Henson has been working to create a winning culture.  Each year he begins the season with a team meeting, where he discusses team and individual goals and expectations.  While he expects his athletes to have fun, he also pushes them to toe-the-line, hoping to see them standing on the podium at the end of the season.

This year, three of Fannin’s varsity boys have fought their way to the big finale – the GHSA Traditional State Championships.  The tournament will be held in Macon later this week.

To get to the state event, wrestlers first had to place within the top four of their class at Area competition.  In doing so, they then qualified to compete at the Sectional tournament this past weekend at Greater Atlanta Christian School.  The Area 6-AAA meet was held last weekend (Jan 17) at Morgan County High School in Madison.  113 lbs sophomore Landon Galloway (2nd Place),  126 lbs freshman McCay Turner (4th Place) and  heavyweight senior Bradley Flowers each qualified to advance to the Sectional meet.  Flowers was the Area Champion, going undefeated in the event.

“It felt great to win,” Flowers told TeamFYNSports after winning the Area tournament.  “Coach Henson and Coach Hutsell have been telling me to keep working hard in practice and this is something I’ve trained hard for.”

At the Sectional meet, the top eight finishers qualify to advance to the state tournament in Macon.  Flowers finished 3rd, Turner finished 4th and Galloway once again came away with a 2nd place finish to advance all three teammates to state.

At the state tournament, Flowers (31-6) will face Dalton senior Walter Richards (54-5) in his first match to kick off the bracket.  Turner (41-10) will face senior Blake Rice (3-0 in the 126-lb class) of Hall County; and Galloway (30-7) will lock horns with Calhoun freshman Blake Bailey (27-10).  Weigh-ins are at 10am on Thursday morning and TeamFYNSports will be on location, posting updates on twitter and facebook throughout the tournament.


Road Median Flowers


Before the cold turned them brown, I was getting questions about the flowers planted in the road median between Blue Ridge and Ellijay.  As it turns out the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is teaching all of us about an old floral favorite that needs to be brought back to the garden: cosmos. This year they were planted in medians and roadsides all across the state.


If you have ever wondered, “Do those specialty license plates pay off?” The answer is yes, and of course, on display. What is even more exciting is that the future is bright for these types of floral plantings. GDOT is revved up on planting pollinators along the highway system, and this should have everyone doing the happy dance.


But let’s go back to the cosmos. This is not the orange cosmos, instead it is the Cosmos bipinnatus. This cosmos is native to Mexico and is related to coreopsis and rudbeckias. It is the quintessential cottage garden flower and brings in the pollinators.  It is so good that the University of Georgia has put them in their promotional seed packs labeled the “Pollinator Blend.” The pack states that pollinators will make a beeline to your garden when you plant this beautiful flower mix.


These cosmos have daisy-like flowers 2 to 4 inches wide in shades of burgundy, pink, lilac and white with orange centers, and they are borne on stems of airy, fern-like foliage for weeks on end during the growing season. As GDOT and UGA would testify, these are easy to grow from seed. In fact, they are so easy to grow from seed, you can sow successive plantings to have blooms the entire growing season, especially if you want to have a bounty of flowers for the vase too.  You might get lucky and find nursery plants, but seeds seem to be readily available.


Plant your seeds or nursery-grown transplants into loose, well-drained soil once the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees.  Fertility need not be high for this Mexico native. Seeds germinate in five to seven days with blooms, bees and butterflies in eight to 10 weeks. Thin the seedlings or space transplants 12 to 36 inches apart depending on your variety.


Yes, there are varieties like the 1936 All-America Selections Award Winner ‘Sensation’ that tops out in the 4- to 5-foot range.  But if you are into the more diminutive cosmos, then you might want to try the 2-foot-tall ‘Sonata,’ which was a Fleuroselect Award Winner. There are plenty of others to try as well.


Although considered an annual, the cosmos gives a perennial-like performance by reseeding, which is perfect for the highway system and your pollinator garden too. These are tough plants, so water sparingly but when you do, water deeply, training those roots to go deep. Your volunteer seedlings may look a little different than what you originally planted when it comes to height, but they will nonetheless be dazzling.


If GDOT can have success with cosmos, you can too. I hope you’ll give them a try next spring.


An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution


Rebels fall to Tigers 43-3

FCHS Football

With a slight breeze on a relatively cool October Friday night, it finally felt like football season.  The Fannin County Rebels ventured to Dawsonville with aspirations of upsetting the AAA Region 7 stat leaders, only to quickly find out what the hype surrounding Dawson County was very real.

The Fannin County High School Rebels recently garnered national attention for carrying a roster full of flags onto the field prior to kickoff, and once again, the team elected to carry Old Glory onto the field, a reminder to the crowd – and to the country – that these young men believe in honoring our nation and the historic tradition of American football.

The Tigers won the toss and elected to defer, giving the Rebels the opportunity to receive the ball first.  After the kickoff, things started out pretty well for Fannin County.  Senior quarterback Chandler Smith handed the ball to starting senior running back Cody Jacobs and he took the ball upfield for a first down.  A quick snap and another run led to a six yard gain for the Rebels.  Energy levels were high on the Fannin sidelines and you could almost see the hair standing up on the back of the offensive line’s necks as Smith took the next snap, stepped back, turned to his left, and threw the ball… directly into the jersey of a defensive back for Dawson County.

FCHS senior lineman Bradley Flowers jumps on the loose ball, preventing a turnover.

In Smith’s defense, the energy in the stadium was out of this world and his adrenaline had to have been turned up to 11; but nonetheless the Tigers seized the opportunity to turn the turnover into points and take an early seven-point lead over the Rebels.  Eight minutes later, the Tigers held a 22-0 lead and the Rebels were reeling on their heels trying to stop the bleeding.  Each time the Rebels got a drive rolling, something happened to stop them in their tracks:  A pass on first down – intercepted.  A solid run between the tackles – holding penalty.  A qb sweep to the strong side – fumble (recovered by senior lineman Bradley Flowers).  It felt like it was Friday the 13th – wait – it was.

The Rebels wouldn’t put points on the board until head coach Jim Pavao elected to take a shot at a 40-yard field goal.  Senior kicker Alex White lined up and put the ball through the goal post with room to spare, but at this point the Tigers had put 36 on the board; another touchdown by the Tigers put the game out of reach, 43-3.

Dawson finished the game with 446 yards of total offense, 161 through the air and 285 on the ground.  Fannin managed 227 yards of total offense, 105 passing and 122 rushing.

Fannin converted only 5-of-15 third downs, while Dawson converted only 7-of-12 in this game.  The Rebels turned the ball over twice, both by way of interceptions, while the Tigers coughed the ball up on a fumble for their only turnover of the night.

Fannin County (2-5, 0-3) hosts Lumpkin County(0-7, 0-3) this week for homecoming, both teams fighting for their first win in region play.

Current AAA Region 7 Standings:

Full stats for the game were not available at the time of publication.



#TeamFYNSports Sportwriter Player of the Week

Player Of The Week

This week’s #TeamFYNSports sportswriter player of the week was an obvious choice:  senior Bradley Flowers.  Flowers has been the heart of the offensive line all season.  In fact, he’s played so well that the Fannin coaching staff recently decided to start using the 260-lb juggernaut on the defensive side of the football in short-yardage goal line situations.  Flowers’ most memorable moment offensively Friday night at Dawson County was his offensive fumble recovery that prevented a turnover on the second drive for the Rebels.  Later in the game he made a huge hit on defense, preventing what was nearly a touchdown inside the 5-yard line.  Catch Bradley Flowers and the rest of the big linemen back in action this week as Fannin hosts Lumpkin County for homecoming.


Fannin Powerlifters Win National Titles


On June 23, 2017, a Fannin County weightlifting club traveled to Gainsville, Georgia for the 15th annual American Powerlifting Committee (APC) National Powerlifting Championships. The Banks Barbell powerlifting team, comprised of a few local student-athletes and adults, spent nearly four months preparing for the competition, with hopes of bringing trophies and national titles back to Blue Ridge. The team not only represented Fannin County with good sportsmanship and a competitive attitude; but they also succeeded in winning 1st-place in Full Powerlifting competition as well as Push-Pull competition.

Fannin County High School senior Bradley Flowers benches while coach Jason Banks looks on at the 2017 APC National Powerlifting Championships

The full powerlifting competition consists of three compound lifts: squat, bench and deadlift. Fannin County Rebel football players Bradley Flowers (Sr) and Keenan Putnam (Sr) chose to compete in the full meet and gave credit to their training in the recently updated FCHS weight room. “The school replaced all of the old gym equipment with some real nice Dynabody racks, bars and chains,” Flowers told TeamFYNSports. “It’s nice – like real nice – probably one of the nicest gyms I’ve ever seen.” On top of their training at the high school, Flowers and Putnam joined Banks Barbell Club in Blue Ridge to supplement their athletic training. “Basically we just wanted to get stronger,” Flowers said. “My older brothers started training there and both of them got a lot stronger real fast. They took me to a deadlift and squat workout and I was hooked.”  The athletes asked Fannin County head football coach Jim Pavao if he would allow them to put in some extra training outside of the regular football scheduled workouts, and he encouraged it.  “Coach [Pavao] said he’s all for it,” Flowers told FYN.  “He told us anything we can do to get better in our spare time is fine as long as it’s positive and it doesn’t affect our training at the high school.”

The hard work put in both at the fieldhouse and their new gym paid off.  Both Putnam and Flowers won their classes, earning national champion honors, and they managed to break some national and world records in the process.

Putnam finished the day with a 192.5kg (423.5-lbs) squat, 115kg (253-lb) bench and a 170kg (374-lb) deadlift for a 445kg (979-lb) total (his squat was a 4th attempt for record-breaking purposes only) and four Global Powerlifting Alliance (GPA) World Records. The performance also set the APC national records for the 110kg (220-lb) teen (16-17) class.

Fannin County sophomore Kayleigh Russell sets up for a sumo deadlift attempt at the 2017 APC National Powerlifting Championships.

Flowers finished the day with a 205kg (451-lb) squat, 147.5kg (324.5) bench and a 235kg (517-lb) deadlift for a 587.5kg (1,292.5-lb) total. He also now holds the GPA World Powerlifting records for squat, bench, deadlift and total in the teen (16-17) class, but in the 125kg (275-lb) weight division. In a nutshell, these kids are strong.

Fannin sophomore Kayleigh Russell, one of two females on the team, also had a huge day at the competition. Russell won the 75kg (165-lb) weight class in the open (all age groups) AND teen (15-16) division. She set new GPA world records with her 65kg (143-lb) squat, 35kg (77-lb) bench and 82.5kg (181.5-lb) deadlift for a 182.5kg (401.5-lb) total. She also competed on the Push-Pull team and her bench and squat were good enough to set new GPA world records in Push-Pull teen competition for bench, deadlift and total. Basically, Russell came home with top honors in four different classes and seven world records.

“I started powerlifting because I wanted to get stronger for softball,” Russell told FYN. Russell plays softball year-round, whether it be travel ball or with the Rebels varsity team at FCHS.  She and her father, Justin Russell of Epworth, joined the club and began training together early in the year.  Like Putnam and Flowers, Russell scheduled her supplemental training around the existing workouts she received on the softball field and in the high school weight-training class.  “She wants to play college ball,” her father explained.  “She’s willing to do what it takes to do that and we support her one hundred percent.”

Fannin senior Keenan Putnam pulls a successful deadlift at the 2017 APC National Powerlifting Championships.

Other lifters for the Banks Barbell team include Paige Collins-Rideout of Epworth, who won the women’s 45-49 age group in the 67.5kg (148.5-lb) weight class with an 80kg (176-lb) squat, 50kg (110-lb) bench and 100kg (220-lb) deadlift for a 230kg (506-lb) total. Rideout also won “Best Female Lifter” in the push-pull competition.

Matthew Rideout of Epworth won the men’s open 90kg (198-lb) weight class with a 152.5kg (335.5-lb) squat, 102.5kg (226-lb) bench and 192.5kg (423-lb) deadlift for a 447.5kg (984.5-lb) total.

Terry Brandon Flowers of Morganton narrowly took second place in his class (110kg/242-lb open) with a 212.5kg (467.5-lb) squat, 145kg (319-lb) bench and 227.5kg (500.5-lb) deadlift for a 585kg (1,287.5-lb) total. Flowers’ wife was 9-months pregnant at the time of the meet and he was uncertain if was going to compete. “Holli was about to have our baby at any day so I really didn’t plan to go,” Flowers told FYN. “I even lifted heavy all week before the meet. But the day of weigh-ins she told me we should go, so I went out and gave the best I could. I really just wanted to compete for my team.”

Jeremy Flowers of Morganton finished with a strong 2nd-place showing in the 110kg (242-lb) open class for push-pull. Flowers benched 160kg (352-lbs) and then barely failed on a third attempt of 180kg (396-lbs). All push-pull lifters later learned that the bar had been mis-loaded for their flight and they were actually lifting (or attempting) 5kg/11-lbs MORE than for what they received credit. Of those lifters was Jason Banks of Morganton.

Banks won “Best Overall Male” in push-pull competition and won the 125kg (275-lb) sub-master (35-39) class with a 215kg (474-lb) bench and a 290kg (640-lb) deadlift for a 505kg (1,114-lb) push-pull total. He broke the APC national records for bench, deadlift and total and he missed the GPA world record for raw bench press by 5kg (11lbs).

The team plans to compete later this year at the APC Salute the Troops meet November 4 in Commerce, Georgia; and several of the lifters will compete at the Body By George Monster Mania Push-Pull on December 2 in Loganville, Georgia.


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