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Consumer Q's: Fall-friendly annuals and fig etiquette
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Q: My annual flowers are looking ragged. I just came back from the beach and some of them look terrible. Is there anything I can plant now to replace them with?
    A: Your local garden center or nursery may have marigolds, zinnias and other annual flowers you can plant to replace any that are looking ragged or otherwise showing ill effects from bad weather, age or neglect. There is still plenty of time this summer and fall for these to grow and bloom. In fact, nurseries and garden centers may have gallon or larger containers of replacement annuals already blooming that can immediately brighten any bare spot in your garden.
    Another option is to remove any annuals that are past their prime and prepare the area to sow seeds of hardy annuals such as California poppy, cornflower and larkspur in September, October and November. Remember, too, it will not be long before you can plant hardy annuals such as snapdragons, pansies and violas.

    Q: When will there be another auction of rehabilitated horses?
    A: The next auction will be Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, at the Mansfield Impound Barn, 2834 Marben Farm Rd., Mansfield, Ga. 30055.
    The horses may be inspected beginning at 10 a.m. The sale will start at approximately 11 a.m. For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture website ( or contact the department’s Equine Health Office at 404-656-3713.
    At this time, 12 horses are scheduled to be auctioned. If you can provide a good home for Patrick, Sara, Slendie, Gertrude, Spunk, Agnes, Sugar, Ellie, Lucy, Buddy, June or Maggie, please come to Mansfield on Sept. 13.

    Q: Do you eat the skin on a fig? Is there a proper way to eat fresh figs?
    A: To eat or not eat the skin is up to you. Your decision may vary with the fig variety, with some having thicker skins than others, or the state of ripeness of the fig. The “proper” way to eat a fig depends on the situation.
    If you do not care for the taste or texture of the skin, it is easily peeled away. When a fig is ripe, you may be able to pull the skin away from one side of a fig starting at the stem end, similar to the way you peel a banana. You then eat the exposed flesh. The ease with which the skin separates from the flesh can vary with ripeness and the variety of the fig. A paring knife or other sharp knife is all that is needed to slice or cut away the skin of a fig if you choose that option.
    If served a fresh fig at a formally set table, quarter the fig with a knife and eat it with a fork. Eating the skin is a matter of preference.
    You may find Georgia-grown figs now at farmers markets. If you feel clumsy in your eating methods, just keep at it. Practice makes perfect! Figs are tasty and healthy. They are also easy to grow and fit into many home and commercial landscapes. Visit a nursery or garden center and learn more about growing your own.

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