ATLANTA -- Gary W. Black, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, answers consumer questions. They are as follows:
Q: What is the difference between biddies and dibbies?
A: Biddy and dibby are both synonyms for chick. A biddy can also be a hen, however, so you have to determine from the context what the speaker or writer is referring to.
Q: What is the most popular breed of dog in America? I am trying to decide what kind I want.
A: We do not keep statistics on breeds of dogs. The American Kennel Club puts out an annual list of “Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.” based on its registration statistics.
Popularity, rarity or novelty are not good factors in selecting a dog or any pet. The dog should fit into your home and lifestyle. If you live in a cramped apartment in the city, a Great Dane may not be the best choice. An active, working breed dog may not be a good choice for a fragile person with mobility issues. Consider all factors when deciding. The best dog is one you can love and enjoy caring for. A common mutt may be the perfect dog for you. Love makes what is common in the world’s eyes unique to yours.
Q: I have seen apple trees advertised as “bare-root.” What does that mean?
A: A bare-root plant is one that is sold with the soil removed from its roots. It is a common way of selling fruit and nut trees, strawberry plants, rose bushes and some perennial flowers. The plants are dug and shipped while they are dormant in the winter or early spring. The roots are packed in damp sphagnum moss or similar material and placed in a plastic bag or wrap to keep the moisture in.
Plant bare-root trees, shrubs and perennials as soon as you receive them. If you cannot plant them right away, keep them in a cool place and keep the roots moist.
Q: What is the average life span of a houseplant?
A: The life span of a houseplant depends on what kind of plant it is. It also depends on the care and environment you provide. Some houseplants will live for many years and have been handed down for generations. Jade plants, begonias and amaryllises are examples of long-lived houseplants. Paperwhite narcissus and florist’s cyclamen, on the other hand, are usually discarded after blooming. Some people grow annuals such as nasturtiums and alyssum indoors for some winter flowers. These are short-lived and should be discarded after the plants’ period of blooming. Some plants – many ferns for example – will last a long time provided they are divided occasionally to prevent them from becoming rootbound. Properly pruned, fed and watered plants receiving the correct amount of light should last for years.
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit their website at www.agr.georgia.gov, write them at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.