Published on 08/25/16

Rock Eagle 4-H Center looking for a few good seeds for its heritage garden

By Merritt Melancon

The garden at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia, supplies between 500 and 2,000 pounds of produce to the environmental education center’s cafeteria each year, but it’s more than a modern kitchen garden – it’s also a living museum.

From period tools and garden design to an original cabin, the garden at Rock Eagle’s 4-H Center’s Scott Site allows students and campers a glimpse into the past.

Now, garden organizers hope to complete the experience by including heirloom vegetable varieties that were used by gardeners in middle Georgia.

“One of the things that we’re really trying to do is to find some varieties and cultivars that are heirlooms native to the middle of Georgia,” said Robert Clemmer, an environmental educator and garden manager at Rock Eagle. “We want seeds that have some kind of story that would be great to highlight in our garden.”

In the past they have ordered heirloom seeds from suppliers across the country with mixed results.

With a low-input garden like the one at the Scott Site, the vegetables need to be well adapted to growing in Georgia. Clemmer hopes that families around the state will have some proven varieties to share.

“Do you have collard seeds that have been passed down through the generations? What about a variety of peas that have been in the family for years?,” Clemmer wrote in a open call for seeds earlier this month. “Rock Eagle is looking for all types of local seeds to grow in our garden.”

Fall seeds are a more urgent need, but they’d also love to have spring and summer crop seeds for next year, he said.

For more information or to make seed donations, contact Clemmer at (706) 484-2881 or by email at To learn more about the environmental education program at Rock Eagle, visit .

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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