Researcher looking for tough canna lily

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The canna lily is an Augusta favorite. The perennial can grow 6 feet tall and is often used to create colorful borders and give a tropical look to the landscape.

Unfortunately, insects love them, too.

University of Georgia entomologist Kris Braman is searching for canna lily varieties that are the most resistant to Japanese beetles and canna leaf rollers.

These pests can destroy the plants by feeding on their leaves. The beetles also eat the flowers.

Dr. Braman's research is in the early stages, but after studying some 22 varieties, she has found the Maudie Malcom variety to be the most pest resistant. This variety can tolerate insect damage into the early stages and still remain attractive.

Vegetable tips

- Harvest vegetables as soon as they are ready. Leaving them on the vine too long can cause the plant to stop production.

- Before you spray an insecticide on your vegetables, check the label to see how long you would have to wait after spraying before you could safely harvest produce.

- Okra, one of the showiest blooms in the vegetable garden, bears flowers that last only one day. If the flower has been pollinated, a miniature okra pod can be seen beneath the wilted flower.

- For the best flavor, pick ripe tomatoes as needed. If you pick them as they are turning but not yet ripe, don't refrigerate them until they are fully ripe. Fruit texture and some aroma compounds deteriorate quickly in the cold.

- Under warm, humid conditions, cucumbers on the vine may remain in prime condition for less than 12 hours. For the best-tasting cucumbers, pick early and often. They can be stored up to two weeks at 45 to 50 degrees and 95 percent relative humidity.

Lower temperatures cause chilling damage and higher temperatures encourage yellowing. Yellowing is also accelerated if cucumbers are stored with tomatoes or apples.

- When picking cucumbers, do so by turning the fruit parallel to the vine and giving a quick snap. This prevents vine damage and results in a clean break. If you have trouble mastering this, take a sharp knife to the garden for harvesting.

REACH SID MULLIS, THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA EXTENSION SERVICE OFFICE FOR RICHMOND COUNTY, AT (706) 821-2349 OR SMULLIS@UGA.EDU.


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