New Rinses for Produce

first_imgNormally, Andress said, fresh fruit and vegetables are safe in your grocery store andfarmers’ market. “Produce today is washed pretty well before it reaches the shelves,”she said. Andress said the information she has studied on the new products all leads to the samepoint. “These rinses help lift and carry dirt away,” she said. “But I haven’t seen enoughevidence to support investing in them. They won’t hurt anyone if used as directed andno one is allergic to the ingredients. But I can’t say that they clean producesignificantly better than rubbing or scrubbing in clean, drinkable water.” Using a scrub brush can help, she said, when the peelings will hold up, as withpotatoes or citrus fruit. Anytime you rinse produce, pay special attention to areas where dirt is likely to collector cling. “Rub or scrub carefully,” she said, “around such places as blossom ends, stemends, crevices, cracks and eyes of potatoes.” But even these may be no better than water, she said. Normally, they just aren’tneeded. “The most important factor for cleaning produce is agitation in clean, clear water,” shesaid. “In the home, rubbing the skins or peels in clean water is just as successful asusing special rinsing solutions. High-quality, fresh produce handled correctly is alower-risk food for foodborne illness.” In the normal food-supply process, she said, the things that make you refuse to eatproduce grow much faster than those that would make you sick. “Don’t sell yourself the assumption that because you use this rinse, the food is sanitizedor safer,” she said. “Choosing fresh, high-quality produce and thorough agitation orrubbing in clean water are your best safeguards. With produce, they’re your keys tocoming clean.”center_img There can be exceptions, she said, when an unexpected pathogen isn’t controlled bynormal washing and cold storage or can cause illness with a fairly low dose. “This israre but does happen,” she said, “such as some Salmonella contamination we’ve had onproduce in the past.” Produce from a neighbor, she said, may not have been washed and stored as safely. Soclean it more carefully yourself. The season’s fresh fruits and vegetables beckon from your grocery shelves, and somenew rinses promise to make your produce cleaner and safer. But none may be betterthan a free liquid you already have. “Pathogenic bacteria are most often outnumbered on fresh fruits and vegetables byother microorganisms,” she said. “The latter, if allowed to reach very high numbers,cause quality loss such as mushiness, off flavors, color changes, slime or mold.” Some produce rinses may contain ingredients such as acetic acid or hydrogen peroxide.These are designed to kill microorganisms that cause foodborne illness, Andress said. Whether you use plain water or invest in a commercial rinse, Andress said, don’t forgetthe keys. “I’m not familiar with every new product. But the ones I’ve seen are mostlysurfactants, or wetting agents,” said Elizabeth Andress, a food safety specialist with theUniversity of Georgia Extension Service.last_img read more

Water Laboratory.

first_imgCamilla, Ga. — The C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park will become Georgia’s laboratory to study, learn and teach Georgia farmers and citizens how to better use water, said Gov. Roy Barnes.The park will provide the tools scientists need “to discover the best ways we can understand and make sure there is an adequate supply of water and an adequate supply of jobs in the future,” Barnes told those who attended the dedication of the park here May 11.The 133 acres of land used for the park was donated to Mitchell County by C.M. Stripling, whom Barnes honored for his contribution to the future of Georgia agriculture. Mitchell County leases the land to the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to use for the park.Blessed”We don’t realize how blessed we are by God with so much water (in Georgia),” Barnes said. “Unless we make sure we are good stewards of water both for agriculture and industry, we have no future.”Barnes said the park shows Georgia’s commitment to water conservation and will help the state in the current water negotiations with Florida and Alabama, who have sued the state over water.”We have been able to point in those negotiations to this center and to the other research in (Georgia) conserving water,” Barnes said. “We can develop methods for agriculture to fully irrigate in a more effective and efficient way — therefore, quit suing us and get off our backs.”Answers to CrisisBarnes added that agriculture and rural Georgia are in a critical state.”Agriculture is under attack in the United States. It’s under attack because of the globalization of trade,” he said.But he said rural Georgia can still grow.”We have the recipe for a successful rural renaissance in Georgia . . . economic development, better educated and better trained workers and more effective and more efficient agriculture with a value-added element,” he said. “This (research park) is a cornerstone in that effort.”Science ReadyThe CAES has “never had the kind of (water research) facility we have here to let us do the things we feel like are so important,” said CAES Dean and Director Gale Buchanan.”The kinds of things we’ll be doing at this site will have benefits certainly for this area, for farmers, and certainly for agriculture. But the beneficiary is all of the people in the state of Georgia,” Buchanan said.”Water, very often,” he said, “decides profit or loss in agriculture, the success of our state and the economy.”Farmers can learn the best techniques for irrigating in Georgia from the research at the park, said Mitchell County farmer Murray Campbell.”Agriculture is a very large user of water in the state,” said Campbell, who chairs the park’s advisory committee. “And we need to learn how to use it wisely and judiciously.”last_img read more

Island classes

first_imgBy Mike IsbellUniversity of Georgia”Stop pulling when you hear the boat’s horn blow,” the captain instructed. And 20 pairs of eager, young hands pulled the big trawl net with its catch of flounder, crabs and shrimp, from the water off the coast of Jekyll Island.Trawling off the Georgia coast was just one of many experiences the 130 seventh- and eighth-graders from all over Georgia had at Marine Resource Camp. The camp is sponsored by the University of Georgia Extension Service’s 4-H program at the 4-H Camp on Jekyll Island.The camp teaches the young people about the importance of our marine resources and about the importance of the barrier islands — Cumberland, St. Simons, and the many others — to these resources.Wonderful counselorsSome wonderful, college-age counselors provide the leadership at camp. They teach most of the classes for the week: trawling, hiking through the maritime forest, beachcombing, seining for aquatic animals off the beach, exploring the marshes, canoeing a brackish-water pond, and walking on the beach at night to look for sea turtles laying eggs.In the herpetology class, environmental education instructors teach the 4-H-ers about reptiles found on the island. If the 4-Hers didn’t get to hold the snakes, gopher tortoises and alligator they were shown, they at least got to touch them.Yikes! Sharks!And they all laughed at the antics and humor of one instructor while learning about the importance of sharks in our oceans.I really enjoyed the trawling trip most. I’ve done all those other things many times. But this was a chance to do something new and to be out on the water.We had seen the big boats right off the beach each morning as they trawled for shrimp. Sea birds follow the trawlers, looking for some easy scavenging. And who knows what else might be following them?Discovering a TEDSea turtles are sometimes caught in the nets, and that’s a big concern for the trawlers. They now have a device attached to their nets called a TED, or a Turtle Excluder Device. The TED allows the turtle to escape, and the counselors showed us how it works.Going trawling was a chance for everyone to relax a little and to see the island and all the yachts tied up at the docks and moorings. We relaxed until it was time to haul in the net.Was this a typical “week at the beach”? Well, no, not exactly.last_img read more

Save poinsettia

first_imgSaving can be a challenge”I have new plants each year for research. But I also have agroup of plants that I save from year to year,” Oetting said.”You can save them from year to year at home, too. But it’s achallenge. You just have to understand how a poinsettia works.”Once the Christmas presents have all been opened and holidaydecorations are packed away, treat your poinsettia like any otherhouseplant. “You don’t want to overwater or underwater apoinsettia plant,” Oetting said.During the spring and summer, a poinsettia is a green foliageplant. “When the weather turns warm, repot your poinsettia,” hesaid. “You also need to decide whether you want your plant to bea bush or a tree.” Create a treeIf you fancy trees, he said, cut off all the plant’s side shootsand leave a single runner that will grow upward. If a bush ismore to your liking, pinch off the terminal shoot and the sideshoots to make the plant branch more.”Where you keep your poinsettia between New Year’s and Septemberdoesn’t make a whole lot of difference, as long as it getslight,” Oetting said. “The tricky part comes after September.”To flower, the plant needs the same amount of darkness MotherNature provides,” he said. “Somehow, you’ve got to keep thatplant in the dark after the sun goes down, and it has to stay inthe dark until the sun comes up. If there is any flash of light,you can forget it.”Once the plant begins turning the bright red it’s known for,there’s no turning back. “Once it starts turning, it’s gonna go,”Oetting said. “It’s already set physiologically.”Oetting has seen this process work and fail. By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen the holidays are over and you pack away the decorations,don’t pitch the poinsettia plant. If you’re up for a challenge,this year’s poinsettia could become a part of your holidaydecorations next year.Ron Oetting has several poinsettia plants in his greenhouse leftover from past holidays. Oetting is a research entomologist withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.Each year he is surrounded by a new crop of poinsettias hestudies to solve insect problems growers face each year.center_img Totally in the dark”We saved some poinsettias in one greenhouse from the previousyear and they were right on track,” he said. “But the poinsettiasin the greenhouse next door were doing poorly. We figured out whywhen we noticed the streetlight just outside the greenhousedoor.”Oetting doesn’t recommend trying to save your poinsettia plantunless you are up for a challenge and don’t mind failure. “It’stoo easy to break the period of darkness,” he said. “It’s also awhole lot easier and cheaper to buy a new one each fall.”One unique characteristic of poinsettias is that its red”flowers” aren’t actually flowers at all. The true flower of theplant is the small yellow flower in the center of the red color.The spectacular red, flower-like arrangements are the plant’sbracts or leaves.A tropical plant from Central America, the poinsettia is alsoknown as the Christmas Star or the Mexican Flameleaf. It’s namedfor its discoverer, J.R. Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador toMexico.last_img read more

Decorator safety

first_imgBy Faith PeppersUniversity of GeorgiaRecent concerns about lead in artificial greenery have many holiday decorators turning back to nature. But be careful what you grab, a University of Georgia expert says.”Many people worry about accidentally bringing poisonous leaves in the house during the holiday season,” said UGA Cooperative Extension horticulturist Paul Thomas. “That’s not the item they should worry about the most.”The real problem is not the leaves on the holiday wreath but the vines that make up the base of the wreath and any berries used to decorate it.Wretched wreaths”It’s becoming popular to make your own wreaths by going out to the woods and getting grape and kudzu vines to make the basic form,” Thomas said. “They do make great wreath framing. But when people are pulling down vines from a tree, they often make the mistake of grabbing poison ivy vines and mixing them in the wreath.”Most people looking for decorative vines are looking for ones that are the width of a finger and become bendable when soaked in warm water.”Middle sections of poison ivy vine fit that description,” Thomas said. “The only way to tell which vines are poison ivy is to look at the base of the vine. If the vine looks ‘hairy’ or has hundreds of tiny, root-like things attaching to the tree or rock, leave it alone!”Grape vines have long, flaky bark and may have remnants of a single tendril every so often. Woody kudzu vines are smooth all the way to the base.Left outside, where the oils are inert, poison ivy vines can be relatively harmless. “But when they get inside and get warm,” Thomas said, “the oil can volatilize or be released from the vines. That’s when everyone in the home gets poison ivy.”The best way to tell the difference, he said, is to get a good botanical book. Study how the vines look in your area. Make sure you can tell the difference. Many Web sites have images that can help you identify woody vines.Be careful with berriesThomas says 99.9 percent of plants in holiday decorations aren’t deadly. But you still need to be cautious if you have kids or pets. A good rule is that if the berry is fleshy and soft, like a grape, remove it. If it’s hard or very firm, keep it.”Mistletoe berries (which are fleshy and soft) are deadly, but can simply be removed before bringing the greenery indoors,” he said. “Holly, yew and juniper berries can make you very ill if you eat a great many. However, the taste is so unappealing that this rarely happens. One berry or two won’t harm people or pets.”But nobody would want to risk a sick child or pet during the holidays. So Thomas recommends placing any greenery with berries up out of reach of children.”If you have a wreath on a door or greenery on the mantel, you should be fine,” he said.Keep an eye out for berries that happen to fall onto the floor. They can be irresistible to small children. Dogs and cats usually leave the berries alone.Wet is bestDried greenery can be a fire hazard.”All plant material, once it dries out, is flammable,” Thomas warned. “Christmas tree boughs are the most flammable. Common sense dictates that we don’t place candles in arrangements of dried woodland materials.”Keep pine branches wet and use them just before your holiday events, for the same reason you cut Christmas trees fresh and provide water to your tree. There are products you can spray on the leaves and stems to make them less flammable.”It takes about 10 days for untreated woodland materials to dry out. Hopefully, by then, the holiday season’s over and you can make them into compost,” Thomas said.last_img read more

2007 Garden Packet

first_imgHere is the 32nd annual spring Garden Packet from the Universityof Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Written by 14 CAES faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students, these 26 features are provided to help you give your readers the timely, valuable gardening information they want. Your UGA Cooperative Extension county agent (just call 1-800-ASK-UGA1) can help you localize these features. The stories are available on the Georgia FACES Web site at 2007 Garden Packet stories are: 1 Organic garden? Take balanced approach Kristen Plank 2 Beginner’s guide to vegetable garden Jamie Hamblin 3 Avoid feast for insects in garden Stephanie Schupska 4 Five quick steps to controlling insects in garden Schupska 5 Southern peas: longtime tradition in South George Boyhan 6 Pick a peck of pickles from garden this year Dan Rahn 7 Great gardens can come in small spaces Terry Kelley 8 Prevention key to garden disease control Brad Haire 9 Start trellising when plants start growing Kelley10 Soil testing can prevent garden problems Kelley11 Gardeners’ needs set insect-control choices Alton Sparks12 Home pecans as much an art as a science Lenny Wells13 Backyard berries easier to grow than you think Schupska14 Keep your garden ‘contained’ and versatile Plank15 With care, orchids provide years of beauty Hamblin16 Elephant ears add tropical appeal to yard Bodie Pennisi17 Thorny pyracanthas ablaze with berries in winter Rahn18 Georgia Gold Medal plants winners in landscape Rahn19 Swamp hibiscus a winner around water garden Pennisi20 Striking flowers make Firespike landscape winner Pennisi21 Madison takes Confederate jasmine north Gary Wade22 Yellow azalea: ‘Admiral Semmes’ clearly a winner Wade23 Fast-growing, pest-free Green Giant draws acclaim Wade24 Protect pantry from Indian meal moths Aubree Roche25 Laying dormant sod is risky business Sharon Omahen26 New ‘Gardening in Georgia’ shows on GPB Faith PeppersHere are all of the annual UGA garden packet articles for thepast six years:2007 Garden Packet Articles2006 Garden Packet Articles2005 Garden Packet Articles2004 Garden Packet Articles 2003 Garden Packet Articles 2002 Garden Packet Articles(Dan Rahn is the principal editor of the annual gardenpacket and a news editor with the University of Georgia Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) Volume XXXIINumber 1Page ilast_img read more

Waycross + UGA degree

first_imgThe agreements establish formal options for students who earn an Associate of Science degree from WC to transfer directly into the UGA CAES Agricultural Education or Agriscience and Environmental Systems majors. Both majors are offered on the UGA campus in Tifton, Ga., just 70 miles west of Waycross. A student must complete the associate degree with a grade point average of 2.8 or higher.Mark Van Den Hende, WC vice president for academic affairs, sees the new transfer agreements as another way for WC to fulfill its mission. Waycross College students who wish to one day attend the University of Georgia now have a clear academic path to follow. The institutions recently signed two agreements that will ease the transfer of WC students into the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Agriscience and environmental systems degrees “Partnerships with other University System of Georgia institutions, like the University of Georgia, make attending Waycross College extraordinary,” he said. “Since our goal is to get students ready to transfer to a four-year college, partnerships streamline the process and guarantee that it fulfills our student-centered mission.”Waycross graduates can stay in south Georgia for UGA degree “Everyone agrees that the University of Georgia is one of our national flagship academic universities,” Palmer said. “While many of our graduates over the past 34 years have gone on from Waycross College to their junior and senior years in Athens, now we are directly linked to UGA. Students can earn a UGA four-year degree with only two years in Waycross and two years in Tifton – barely 75 miles from home. What an opportunity!” WC President David Palmer is pleased that WC graduates now have the opportunity to earn a UGA degree while staying close to home.center_img UGA administrators are equally excited about the new venture. “This agreement gives students as well as advisors a roadmap to follow,” said Joe West, assistant dean on the UGA Tifton campus. “If they follow that roadmap, take the proper courses and maintain standards, they will find a smooth transition to the University of Georgia Tifton campus. We are excited about this partnership with Waycross College as we reach out to our sister institutions in south Georgia by providing access to the University of Georgia.” “We wanted to work with local community colleges to create a pathway from their program to ours,” said Joe Broder, CAES associate dean for academic affairs. “We want students to finish their Waycross degree, then come to Tifton. This way they’re ready to be successful at UGA, and it’s a win-win for Waycross and UGA.”(Article by Jessica Green of the University of Georgia and Taylor Hereford of Waycross College.)last_img read more

Who wants a rain gauge?

first_imgThis April will mark the fifth anniversary of Georgia’s Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, part of a non-profit network of volunteer precipitation observers across the U.S. who provide daily rainfall information to the public. While the network has greatly improved the amount and accuracy of weather data collected through out the state, there are still counties without weather observers. The national networking has called for a springtime drive to recruit new weather observers. Data used in ag researchUniversity of Georgia scientists were instrumental in organizing the initial entry of Georgia in the network, often referred to as CoCoRaHS. They use the data collected by Georgia’s team of volunteer weather watchers in agricultural and water resource work. They also provide daily rainfall information to members of the network. Faculty with the Colorado State University atmospheric sciences organized the first CoCoRaHS networks after a devastating flood in 1997 destroyed most of the basement research library. Radar estimates for rain from the downburst were only about four inches due to the combination of small storm size and mountainous terrain, but local surveys of amateur weather observers in the area determined that up to a foot of rain had fallen near the CSU campus during the storm. Since its original inception, the CoCoRaHS has grown from a local network, serving the Fort Collins area and northern Colorado, to a group of more than 11,000 volunteer observers working in the U.S. and in central Canada. Georgia currently has over 900 observers signed up to record rain, snow and hail amounts across the state. Volunteers record precipitation across the stateWhile observers are concentrated in areas with higher populations such as the Atlanta Metro area, stations are located across the state. These volunteer observers use a high-quality 4-inch diameter rain gauge which can be read to 0.01 inches and can hold up to 11 inches of rain. CoCoRaHS team members enter their observations by computer or mobile phone every day, usually in the morning. These observations are displayed on a variety of maps on the CoCoRaHS web site, On a dry day, only about 200 observers enter their zeros into the CoCoRaHS system, but on a rainy day up to 500 observers send in rainfall reports. This has led to a significant improvement in the thoroughness of the rainfall data collected in Georgia. By comparison, the National Weather Service volunteer cooperative volunteer observer network only collects measurements from 150 Georgians. CoCoRaHS network observations have been used in several scientific studies at UGA. But city utility departments, farmers, reservoir managers and insurance adjusters also use the data. One of the most valuable uses of CoCoRaHS data is the special weather reports for hail and high intensity rain, which are relayed directly to the National Weather Service offices in the state to help them provide timely and accurate severe weather warnings on stormy days. Young and old alikeCoCoRaHS volunteers come from all backgrounds, including gardeners, television meteorologists, emergency personnel and teenagers with an avid interest in the weather. A number of CoCoRaHS observers are also UGA Cooperative Extension agents or research scientists. This month Georgia CoCoRaHS is participating in the annual “March Madness” competition between the states to see who can enlist the most new observers. There are still a number of counties that do not have any active observers. If you are interested in joining the CoCoRaHS network, you can visit to get more information on signing up and to identify commercial vendors who will sell the CoCoRaHS rain gauge at a special reduced price to new observers. Contact Pam Knox by email at for more information on CoCoRaHS in any part of Georgia. Editor’s Note: Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, is the regional coordinator for regions 1 and 3 of Georgia’s CoCoRaHS, which encompasses a broad swath of the state from Rabun County in the northeast corner of Georgia down to Telfair County in south-central Georgia. She was on the original planning committee that brought CoCoRaHS to Georgia in 2008.last_img read more

UGA Student Success

first_imgI expect these freshmen will graduate from UGA and go on to great things, especially if their academic success thus far is any indictor. This year’s freshman class is the most academically qualified in the school’s 228-year history. This UGA freshman class has the highest GPA and SAT averages on record for entering freshmen. UGA’s strong retention and graduation rates, among the highest in the nation at 82 percent, signal these freshmen are well on their way to successful careers. For the past 13 years, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has set new enrollment records. The trend is echoing across colleges of agriculture at land-grant universities nationwide. More students are coming to our college because the opportunities here are stellar. Georgia agriculture has nearly twice as many jobs available as we have college graduates to fill them. Basic economics tells us high demand met with low supply will reap high prices. Our students have some of the highest placement rates and highest starting salaries of all UGA colleges. Part of that successful employment rate comes from meeting the right people along the way. Lucy Branch Reid followed her path from a peanut farm in Mitchell County to Athens, after being an active Georgia 4-H’er. Along the way she met faculty mentors from the college of agriculture who influenced her decision to study food science. Today she is director of scientific and regulatory affairs for Coca-Cola Refreshments.Working with UGA’s world-renowned turfgrass experts helped 2002 graduate Clint Tolbert land his dream job in paradise. Everyday he wakes up to a Hawaiian sunrise over the golf course he manages because those experts helped him gain specialized knowledge of island-friendly turf.Whether this freshman class follows a path to their field of dreams on a golf course or on a family farm, opportunity abounds in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The excellence and high standard these students set assure us the future is a bright. Welcome to class. Each year as a new group of freshmen shows up for the first day of class at the University of Georgia, I’m reminded of all the students who have crossed our path and now make up the rich fabric of our strong agricultural economy. Our graduates can be found in boardrooms and on ball fields, in legislatures and laboratories, classrooms, cow pastures and cotton fields all over the world.last_img read more

Georgia Pecan Crop

first_imgIrma’s destructive path blew through Georgia’s pecan crop, but the destruction could have been much worse, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells.All orchards experienced some damage from the storm that moved through Georgia on Monday, Sept. 11. Nuts were blown out of trees, limbs were broken and at least a few trees fell in most orchards. Multiple growers in Georgia’s Peach and Berrien counties lost thousands of trees, Wells said.The storm knocked immature pecans to the ground, and Wells believes approximately 30 percent of this year’s crop was lost.Tift County, Georgia, pecan farmer Russ Griffin estimates that about 50 percent of his crop was lost, not including the 15 trees that fell over due to high winds. He was able to stand them back up but is unsure whether they’ll survive.He remains encouraged that his crop wasn’t a total loss.“If (Irma) would have hit as a Category 3 hurricane like they said to start with, it would have probably taken out the majority of the trees. I guess I’m just trying to look on the bright side,” Griffin said.Most of Georgia’s fallen pecan trees were between 5 and 25 years old.“A lot of these trees that were blown down were just coming into good production, which is a tough loss to take,” Wells said.This was expected to be a banner year for Georgia pecans. Wells originally believed Georgia’s pecan crop would top 110 million pounds, but after Irma, expectations are that the yield could be reduced to as low as 70 to 80 million pounds.“It is discouraging that Irma came on the best crop we ever had, but I guess you’ve got to consider it was a good crop to begin with, and there’s still a decent crop left in the trees,” Griffin said.The majority of green nuts blown to the ground were immature pecans that were not harvestable. ‘Pawnee’ pecans are the only salvageable variety as they were supposed to be harvested this week. The varieties with shucks close to splitting, like ‘Elliot,’ ‘Moneymaker’ and ‘Creek,’ could possibly be harvested and run through a deshucker machine in the cleaning plant, but farmers need to determine if that is an economically feasible option, Wells said.The more common varieties, like ‘Stuart,’ ‘Desirable’, ‘Sumner’ and ‘Cape Fear,’ are too far from maturity to consider deshucking.Wells encourages pecan farmers with crop damage to report to their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency office and expects cleanup funds to eventually be available. Producers will have to complete forms and take photos of the damage to their trees. Growers will be compensated for their losses at 75 percent of the USDA cost of a mature tree, which ranges from $300 to $200,000 total per entity. Younger trees are valued differently.Producers who lost 15 percent or more of their orchard are eligible for the tree assistance program (TAP), which pays 65 percent of the cost per tree up to a maximum of $120,000. Funds aren’t yet available as they must be appropriated by Congress.last_img read more