Delete Question: A friend sent photos of the blue butterflies now at the butterfly house at Callaway Gardens. Can I attract this butterfly to my garden?
Answer: This month the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens is filled entirely with blue morpho butterflies, one of the most spectacular butterflies in the world due to its large size and brilliant blue wings. The blue morpho is native to the rainforests of Central and South America and cannot survive here. To see them, you’ll need to go to Callaway. (Pine Mountain is a lot closer than Brazil!)
If you long for your own version of the blue morpho, why not plant to attract the red-spotted purple butterfly? (It is curiously named, as its spots are more orange than red, and it is more blue than purple.) Its caterpillars feed on species of cherry, oak, hawthorn, birch, willow, basswood, hornbeam and sarvisberry. The adult butterflies feed at numerous kinds of flowers and also feed at rotting apples, pawpaws and other fruits.
The pipevine swallowtail has iridescent blue on its wings and may also remind you of the blue morpho. Attract it to your garden by planting pipevines.
Although we don’t have any butterflies as blue as the blue morpho, Georgia has many beautiful butterflies, and there are plants available at your local garden center or nursery that can attract them to your garden. Fall is one of the best times to plant trees, shrubs and perennials that serve as nectar plants and larval host plants for butterflies.
For more information about the blue morphos at Callaway Gardens, visit http://www.callawaygardens.com/events/education-and-culture/blue-morpho-month. There is also a butterfly garden at Callaway, so check that out if you visit to get ideas for your own garden.
Q: I am pulling up sweet potato vines. Is it safe to feed them to my goats?
A: It may be unsafe for you if you stand between the goats and the vines! The goats will relish them and not waste any time running to get to them. However, don’t overdo it by feeding your goats a lot of something they are not accustomed to eating. All things in moderation, even for goats…. And, of course, don’t feed anything that has been recently sprayed with pesticides. Contact your county Cooperative Extension agent for more specific information.
Q: Which is hotter: a Korean pepper or a Thai pepper?
A: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hottest, Korean peppers rate 6-7 and Thai peppers rate 7-8. Other common hot peppers rate as follows: cherry 1-5; ancho/poblano 3; wax 3-8; jalapeno 5-6; serrano 6-7; cayenne 8; tabasco 8-9; Scotch bonnet 9-10 and habanero 10. The heat in hot peppers can fluctuate depending on where and how they were grown, and among different varieties within the type of pepper.
There are more differences between peppers than just how hot they are, however. They have different flavors. These flavors can also vary depending on how ripe the pepper is when harvested and whether it is fresh or dried.
If you are experimenting with hot peppers, keep milk nearby. Drinking milk or eating a dairy product such as ice cream or yogurt will help quell the burning if you are not used to eating hot, spicy foods or if you get a pepper that is a little hotter than you expected.
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.