Nursery-grown trees more likely to survive
Q: There is a 9-foot tall tree with white flowers in my woods. It blooms in the spring. I want to move it to my yard. When and how do I do this?
A: We advise against digging up the tree and moving it. Besides being difficult to move due to its size, there is also a high likelihood of severely damaging its root system and not getting enough roots for it to survive. A tree that sprouted and has been growing in the woods may have a very widespread and erratic root system.
We suggest you take a branch with leaves to a local nursery or garden center or to your county Cooperative Extension office for identification. Take along a photograph of the entire tree as well. If you have photographs of the tree's blooms, they will be even better to help identify it. Once you have identified the tree, buy one at the nursery or garden center and plant it instead. It will be more likely to survive and you will be less likely to injure your back. A small tree with an undamaged root system will catch up to or surpass the size of the tree in the woods in less time than you think. Let the beautiful white tree continue to grow in the woods where Mother Nature planted it.
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Q: I have a bushel of Roma tomatoes I want to use to make soup. I feel like I lose too much of the meat when I peel them with a knife. Someone said I could use boiling water to peel them but I don't know exactly how to do this. Can you help?
A: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the tomatoes two at a time in the pot for 11 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon or strainer and drop them immediately into a large pot or bowl of ice water. When the tomatoes have cooled, it will be easy to peel away the skin without removing the underlying flesh.
Depending on the size and type of tomatoes, you may have to vary the boiling time. However, the main thing to remember is that you do not wish to cook the tomatoes in the boiling water.
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Q: Do all bell peppers start out green?
A: Yes. Depending on the variety of the bell pepper, it will turn red, orange, yellow, chocolate, purple or ivory as it ripens. Hot peppers also start out green.
Ripe peppers have a different, usually sweeter and less pungent, flavor than the green ones. Ripe peppers are usually more expensive than green ones because the farmer has to invest more time in growing them.
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If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit the website at www.agr.georgia.gov, write to the department at 19 MLK Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail Consumer Q's coordinator Arty Schronce at arty.schronce@ agr.georgia.gov .
(Consumer Q's is prepared by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Gary W. Black, Commissioner.)