Georgia lies within two USDA hardiness zones--7 and 8--with a small section in the northeast that is in zone 6. The same vegetables can be grown in all of Georgia, but the planting times will be different. Gardeners in Georgia choose from vegetables that are grown in many parts of the country and varieties that are grown only in the South.
Beets (Beta vulgaris) produce green to red leaves that grow from the base of the plant, reaching 4 to 18 inches long. The small green or red flowers appear during the second year of the plants growth on a stalk that grows up to 4 feet tall. Table beets can be red, yellow, orange, white, pink or striped and either elongated, flat or globe shaped. Plant in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is kept constantly moist.
In Southern Georgia, beets can be grown in the winter. In the rest of the state, the plant is grown in the spring and summer. The roots are served hot or cold, sliced raw for a salad, pickled or made into borscht--a beet soup. The leaves are also edible.
Mustard greens (Brassica juncea) grow to 3 feet tall and produce bright yellow flowers that become sickle-shaped green seed pods. The leaves are either elongated with frilled edges or flat and oval, depending on the variety.
In South Georgia, mustard greens are grown in the winter and in other sections in the spring and summer. Plant in full sun and in a moist soil. Older plants can take a soil that is allowed to go dry. Mustard green can be boiled or steamed alone or with spinach, collards, or kale and salt pork, bacon or ham.
Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) grows up to 2 feet tall and produces leaves like those of the carrot plant and the root in the first year and flowers in the second and last year of its life. Parsnip is a cool-season vegetable that comes out best when planted in the fall and harvested in the spring.
Plant in full sun and moist soil. The roots grow up to 18 inches long with a nutty flavor. Parsnips are mashed with potatoes, fried or boiled and used raw in salads. The swallow-tail butterfly will make a meal out of the leaves.
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